Education Bowdoin College in Maine After graduation, studied law
Politics At 24 – elected to New Hampshire legislature Two years later – New Hampshire Speaker 1830’s – went to Washington as a Representative, then as a Senator
1852 – New Hampshire friends proposed him for the Presidential nomination
Platform Supported the Compromise of 1850 Hostility towards any efforts to agitate slavery question
“Dark horse” Delegates at the Democratic Convention balloted 48 times and eliminated all the well-known candidates before nominating Pierce
President Pierce Because Democrats stood more firmly for the Compromise than Whigs and because Whig candidate Gen. Winfield Scott was suspect in the South, Pierce won with a narrow margin of popular votes
Tragic Two months before he took office, he and his wife saw their 11-year old son killed when their train was wrecked.
Inaugural Address Proclaimed era of peace and prosperity at home and vigor in relations with other nations US might have to acquire additional possessions for the sake of its own security and would not be deterred by “any timid forebodings of evil” Fact: Pierce gave his 3,319-word inaugural address from memory, without the aid of notes
Criticism Northerners accused him of acting as a cat’s-paw of Southerners eager to extend slavery Aroused apprehension when he pressured Great Britain to relinquish its special interests along part of the Central American coast and even more when he tried to persuade Spain to sell Cuba (the Ostend Manifesto document)
Kansas-Nebraska Act 1854 Stephen Douglas wanted a railroad from Chicago to California through Nebraska. He created the Kansas-Nebraska Act which repealed the Missouri Compromise.
Gadsden Purchase Secretary of War, Jefferson Davis, advocate of a southern transcontinental route, persuaded Pierce to send James Gadsden to Mexico to buy land for a southern railroad. Purchased the area making up southern Arizona and part of southern New Mexico for ten million dollars.
Returned to New Hampshire 1869 – Died of cirrhosis of the liver as a result of years of heavy drinking
Franklin Pierce was the first President to have a Christmas tree in the White House