14th President of the United States
(March 4, 1853 to March 3, 1857)
Full Name: Franklin Pierce
Nickname: "Young Hickory of the Granite Hills"
Born: November 23, 1804, in Hillsborough (now Hillsboro), New Hampshire
Died: October 8, 1869, in Concord, New Hampshire
Father: Benjamin Pierce
Mother: Ann Kendrick Pierce
Married: Jane Means Appleton (1806-1863), on November 10, 1834
Children: Franklin Pierce (1836); Frank Robert Pierce (1839-43); Benjamin Pierce (1841-53)
Education: Graduated from Bowdoin College (1824)
Occupation: Lawyer, public official
Political Party: Democrat
Other Government Positions:
- Served in New Hampshire Legislature, 1829-33
- Member of U.S. House of Representatives, 1833-37
- Unites States Senate, 1837-42
Presidential Salary: $25,000/year
Vice President: William R. King (1853)
- Secretary of State
- William L. Marcy (1853-57)
- Secretary of the Treasury
- James Guthrie (1853-57)
- Secretary of War
- Jefferson Davis (1853-57)
- Attorney General
- Caleb Cushing (1853-57)
- Postmaster General
- James Campbell (1853-57)
- Secretary of the Navy
- James C. Dobbin (1853-57)
- Secretary of the Interior
- Robert McClelland (1853-57)
- Franklin Pierce -- from The Presidents of the United States of America
- Compiled by the White House.
- Franklin Pierce -- from The American President
- From the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia, in addition to information on the Presidents themselves, they have first lady and cabinet member biographies, listings of presidential staff and advisers, and timelines detailing significant events in the lives of each administration.
- The Life of Franklin Pierce -- by Nathaniel Hawthorne
- This detailed biography, written in 1852, is in the public domain.
- Hon. Franklin Pierce: Death of the Ex-President -- from The New York Times
- The obituary text from The New York Times archives.
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Other Internet Resources:
- Franklin Pierce Homestead State Historic Site
- Pierce's home from his infancy until his marriage in 1834.
- The Franklin Pierce Pages
- This site is a tongue-in-cheek "moving tribute to America's most obscure (and best looking) president."
- The Pierce Manse
- The historic home of Franklin Pierce located in Concord, New Hampshire. Tourist information and historical context can be found at this web site.
Points of Interest:
- 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.
- He defeated his old commanding officer from the Mexican War, Winfield Scott, when he was elected president.
- Pierce was wounded during the Mexican War.
- One of the Democratic party's slogans during Pierce's campaign for president was: "We Polked you in 1844; we shall Pierce you in 1852."
- Benjamin, Pierce's third and only surviving child, died in a railroad accident two months before his father's inauguration.
- 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 was the only President to have no turnover in his cabinet.
- Pierce was the only elected President who sought but did not win his party's nomination for a second term.
- During his second year at Bowdoin College in Maine, Pierce had the lowest grades out of anyone in his class. He changed his study habits, and graduated third in his class. Among his class mates were Nathaniel Hawthorne and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
- Franklin Pierce was the first President to have a Christmas tree in the White House.
- He installed the first central-heating system and the first bathroom with hot and cold water in the White House.
- Pierce was an avid fisherman.
- Pierce died of cirrhosis of the liver as a result of years of heavy drinking.