The 1852 US election bears a close resemblance to the United States elections held in 1844. Vice President Millard Fillmore became the President after the death of President Zachary Taylor on July 9, 1850. The Whig Party, however, did not nominate Millard Fillmore as a presidential candidate in the 1852 United States elections. General William Scott was nominated for the Presidential post. William Alexander Graham was nominated as Scott's running mate.
The Democratic Party had a tougher time in choosing their presidential candidate. There were several nominees. The list of nominees included the former Secretary of State Lewis Cass, William L. Marcy - the former Secretary of State from New York, and James Buchanan - the former Secretary of State from Pennsylvania. Franklin R. Pierce was finally selected as the Democratic Party's presidential nominee. Pierce was a man with commendable political experience, having served previously as a senator from the US state of New Hampshire. William Rufus DeVane King of Alabama was selected as Pierce's running mate.
The 1852 United States election campaign was marked by a clear absence of any political stand. What mattered was the personality of the two principal contesting candidates: Democrat Franklin Pierce and Whig Winfield Scott. Both had sterling military careers and there was very little to differentiate between the two. The slavery issue also played a major role in the 1852 US election. Pro and anti slavery campaigners began to clash irrespective of their political affiliations. Winfield Scott's anti slavery views cost him a lot of popular votes in the largely pro-slavery southern states.
Other political parties contesting in the 1852 US elections were the anti slavery Free Soil Party and the Union Party. John Parker Hale was the presidential nominee for the Free Soil Party. Hale's running mate was George Washington Julian. Daniel Webster contested as the presidential nominee for the Union Party. Webster's running mate was Charles Jones Jenkins.
William Pierce of the Democratic Party enjoyed a record margin of victory over his Whig rival. Pierce garnered a total of 254 electoral votes to 42 gained by Scott. The tally of popular votes was:
- Franklin Pierce-50.8%
- Winfield Scott-43.9%
- John Parker Hale-4.9%
- Daniel Webster-0.2%