Franklin Pierce was born on 23rd November 1804 at Hillsborough in New Hampshire. His father, Benjamin Pierce, was a well-known politician in New Hampshire, and also one of the most influential personages of that area. Franklin Pierce received his education first at Hillsborough Center and then at Hancock Academy. He graduated from Bowdoin College, Maine. After completion of graduation, he studied law and finally chose politics as a career.
As early as the age of 24, Franklin Pierce was elected to the Legislature of New Hampshire and within a period of two years he became the Speaker of the same. In the 1830s, he went to Washington, initially as a Representative and later as a Senator. Soon he was the nucleus of the Democratic Party of New Hampshire and held a number of responsible posts, including service to the State House from 1829 to 1833, and as a Speaker from 1832 to 1833.
One of the most important events in the life of Franklin Pierce was when he participated actively in the Mexican War. It was after returning from the war that people insisted him on filing nominations for Presidential Elections in 1852.
The 1852 Presidential election was largely a competition between Pierce and General Winfield Scott, the Whig candidate. Pierce managed a win with marginal votes and was made the 14th President of the country. There were certain problems that he had to face immediately after he became the President. Pierce showed some inclination towards supporting slavery in his moves to acquire the coastal regions of Central America from Britain, and acquire Cuba from the Spanish hold. These moves invited the wrath of the Northerners to a great deal, who grew skeptical of his intentions. The situation was still under control, but with the Kansas-Nebraska Act, it went out of control. The Kansas-Nebraska Act repealed the Missouri Compromise, and the question of Slavery in the West was reopened. This Act caused a lot of turmoil and led to plenty of bloodshed in Kansas, which was just a prelude to the Civil War.
However, by the end of the Presidency of Franklin Pierce, peace was somewhat restored in Kansas. The Democrats however refused to nominate him for the next elections. They preferred Buchanan to him as he was less controversial and could maintain th
e peace situation in the country. Franklin Pierce was struck by several personal tragedies that affected his professional and political life to a great deal. Just after he was elected as the President and was planning to take office, he lost his eleven-year old son in a train accident. Tragedies of this kind led him to take certain decisions that were widely criticized and affected his reputation as a President. Finally he returned to his native place in New Hampshire. He breathed his last on 8th October 1869, when he was 64 years old. His serious drinking problem caused cirrhosis of liver leading to his premature death. He was laid to rest in the Minot Enclosure, which was in an Old North Cemetery in Concord.
There are numerous famous quotes by Franklin Pierce, which he said at various times of his life. Some of these quotes are as follows:
- The stars upon your banner have become nearly threefold their original number; your densely populated possessions skirt the shores of the two great oceans."
- You have summoned me in my weakness. You must sustain me by your strength."
- The storm of frenzy and faction must inevitably dash itself in vain against the unshaken rock of the Constitution."
- Republic without parties is a complete anomaly. The histories of all popular governments show absurd is the idea of their attempting to exist without parties."
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