Franklin Pierce

Fourteenth President 1853-1857


Born: November 23, 1804 in Hillsboro, New Hampshire.

Education: Graduated from Bowdoin College at Brunswick, Maine.

Occupation: Lawyer, politician, served in Mexican War, 1847-48.

Religion: Episcopalian.

Family life: Married Jane Means Appleton in 1834. The death of a three-day-old son, the arrival of a new baby, and Jane's dislike of Washington counted heavily in his decision to retire at the apparent height of his career, as United States Senator, in 1842. Little Frank Robert, the second son, died the next year of typhus. On a journey by train, January 6, 1853, their car was derailed and Benny their last son was killed before their eyes. The whole nation shared the parents' grief. The inauguration on March 4 took place without an inaugural ball, and without the presence of Mrs. Pierce. Jane died in 1863. She was buried near her son Benny's grave.

Political career: Served in state legislature, then went to Congress as representative, 1833-37. Nominated by the Democrats in 1852 as suprise "dark horse" candidate; unqualified and inept, was not renominated until 1856.

Highlights of his presidency: Expansionist, but unable to gain territory he wanted; Alaska, Hawaii, and Cuba. Succeeded in Gadsden Purchase. Used federal troops to restore order after the Kansas-Nebraska Act became law.

Appearance: Stiffly erect in posture, he was 5 foot 10 inches tall, and had gray eyes.

Died:October 8, 1869 at Concord, New Hampshire.

Buried:Concord, New Hampshire's Old North Cemetery.


  • The Life of Franklin Pierce By Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • Inaugural Address
  • Britannica Biography
  • Groliers Biography




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