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
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
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
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
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
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
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.