Franklin Pierce Fact Sheet: Who was Franklin Pierce? The following short biography and fact sheet provides interesting facts about the life, times and history of Franklin Pierce.
Franklin Pierce Fact File: Lifespan: 1804 – 1869 *** Full Name: Franklin Pierce *** Occupation: Lawyer and 14th President of the United States *** Date of Birth: Franklin Pierce was born on November 23rd 1804 *** Place of Birth: Franklin Pierce was born in a log cabin in Hillsborough, New Hampshire, USA *** Family background: His father was Benjamin Pierce was a Revolutionary War lieutenant and would become a leading Democratic-Republican state legislator, tavern keeper and farmer and his mother was Anna Kendrick *** Early life and childhood: He grew up with his seven siblings, although two of his older brothers would go to fight in the War of 1812. Between his father and older brothers, military issues and politics would play a large role in his life *** Education: Franklin Pierce began his education at a local school in Hillsborough Centre before being sent to attend a town school in Hancock when he was twelve years of age. Later he attended Phillips Exeter Academy which prepared him for Bowdoin College in Brunswick ***
Franklin Pierce Fact 1: Franklin Pierce was born on November 23rd 1804 and during the 19th century period in history when many empires across the globe collapsed, the Spanish, first and second French, Holy Roman, Mughal and Chinese but the British and Russian Empires, the United States and German Empire where on the rise.
Franklin Pierce Fact 2: It would be while attending Bowdoin that he met Nathaniel Hawthorne and with whom he established a lifelong friendship.
Franklin Pierce Fact 3: After graduation from college he read law with a family friend Levi Woodbury, a former New Hampshire Governor and spent a semester in Northampton attending Northampton Law School, after which he studied under Judge Edmund Parker between 1826 and 1827 before being admitted to the bar in 1827.
Franklin Pierce Fact 4: In 1829 he won his first seat in the New Hampshire House of Representatives representing Hillsborough on behalf of the Democratic Party.
Franklin Pierce Fact 5: As was common among men aged between eighteen and forty five he was a member of the state militia and would be appointed as aide de camp to Samuel Dinsmoor the Governor..
Franklin Pierce Fact 6: He would be nominated for one of the five seats for New Hampshire in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Franklin Pierce Fact 7: Franklin Pierce married Jane Means Appleton in November of 1934. Together they had three sons. Their firstborn son died in infancy and their second son died aged four from typhus.
Franklin Pierce Fact 8: Morally he was totally opposed to slavery but he did see federal action as a violation of the rights of the southern states. When anti-slavery petitions were blocked from getting to the House floor, Pierce took the side of the right to petition on the abolitionist’s behalf, however he also supported the gag rule.
Franklin Pierce Fact 9: As a senator he was not a prominent one and it was at a time when there was an economic crisis due to the Panic of 1837.
Franklin Pierce Fact 10: By 1841 he had made the decision to resign from Congress but his intention was not to leave public life altogether he moved to Concord where there were more opportunities for cases as a lawyer.
Franklin Pierce Fact 11: Having been too young to participate in the War of 1812 as his father and brothers had done and for which he had admired them enormously, when the opportunity to serve his country in a military capacity arose during the war against Mexico he enlisted for active duty.
Franklin Pierce Fact 12: There were however several unfortunate incidents that would be taken out of context and for which rumors would arise that portrayed his actions as cowardly, when in fact the incidents occurred as a result of a horses misstep which caused the horse to fall on top of him. Ulysses S Grant would say of him “Whatever General Pierce’s qualifications may have been for the Presidency, he was a gentleman and a man of courage. I was not a supporter of him politically, but I knew him more intimately that I did any other of the volunteer generals.”
Franklin Pierce Fact 13: He ran for President in the 1852 election never believing he would actually get anywhere but against all the odds he won the popular vote and would be elected the 14th President of the United States.
Franklin Pierce Fact 14: However, his presidential term would begin under a cloud of mourning. While traveling from Boston their train carriage derailed. Although Pierce and his wife emerged with no serious injury, their only remaining son, Benjamin, had been travelling with them and was fatally crushed in the wreckage.
Franklin Pierce Fact 15: Not only would he be the youngest elected president to that date but he would also be the first to deliver his inaugural address memorized without the aid of having to read it.
Franklin Pierce Fact 16: With regard to his cabinet he was very keen to be as fair as possible across all parties and so made his selections across the board.
Franklin Pierce Fact 17: One of his most challenging issues while in office was over the Kansas-Nebraska Act which became known as Bleeding Kansas as a result of the violence that erupted around this issue.
Franklin Pierce Fact 18: Having expected to be nominated for a further term, he was extremely disillusioned when he was not. In an attempt to lessen the disappointment during his final days in office several bills were passed by Congress which included the increase in the pay given to army officers as well as the building of new vessels for the navy together with the expansion of the numbers of seamen.
Franklin Pierce Fact 19: After leaving the White House, Pierce and his wife traveled around Europe and the Bahamas before returning home. In 1863 Jane died or tuberculosis and on top of that sorrow, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Franklin’s lifelong friend also passed. After the double tragedy his drinking would lead to severe health issues which included cirrhosis of the liver.
Franklin Pierce Fact 20: On October the 8th 1869 Franklin Pierce died. His body laid to rest beside his wife and two sons, at Concords Old North Cemetery in the Minot enclosure.
Influence and Legacy: Franklin Pierce’s presidency would largely be seen as unsuccessful and would often become described as one of the worst presidents in history.