Sectional crisis reared its ugly head again. While the Compromise of 1850 had given the nation a period of calm, Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois wanted to get a railroad built across the country. To facilitate that goal, Douglas proposed the Kansas-Nebraska Act. The passage of the act prompted people to pour into the newly formed territories to try and tip the majorities to make them into slave states, including John Brown and his minions. The fighting that broke out led to the designation of the Kansas territory as "Bleeding Kansas."
While Pierce managed to bring calm to the territories, the Democratic party denied him the nomination in 1856. He returned to New Hampshire and died in 1869, never returning to public office.
- Born November 23, 1804 in Hillsborough, New Hampshire
- Died October 8, 1869 in Concord, New Hampshire
- Party - Democrat
- Franklin Pierce (D) - 1,607,510 popular votes /254 electoral votes
- Winfield Scott (Whig) - 1,386,942 popular votes / 42 electoral votes
- Pierce was nominated on the 49th ballot at the Democratic convention as a dark horse, overcoming prominent Democrats like Stephen A. Douglas and Pierce's successor, James Buchanan.
- Pierce's Secretary of War was Jefferson Davis, who would go on to become the President of the Confederacy.
- Pierce was arrested while in office for running over an old woman with his horse, but his case was dropped due to insufficient evidence in 1853.
- Because of religious considerations Pierce affirmed rather than swore the Presidential oath of office.
- Pierce gave his 3,319-word inaugural address from memory, without the aid of notes.
- Pierce went to Bowdoin College in Maine, where he nearly flunked out in his second year. He changed his study habits, graduating third in his class, which included Nathaniel Hawthorne (who wrote an extensive biography of his class mate, see below) and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
- Pierce was the first president to have a Christmas tree in the White House.
- The White House Biography
- Internet Public Library Biography
- Miller Center Biography
- The Life of Franklin Pierce by Nathaniel Hawthorne
- Thumbnail Biography from What Where When New England
- The Pierce Homestead in Hillsborough.
- The Pierce Manse in Concord, New Hampshire (and I have not been to either of the homes of New Hampshire's only president)
- Franklin Pierce University in Rindge, New Hampshire