Grade levels 
 

Franklin Pierce Biography for Kids

Franklin Pierce, the 14th President of the United States, was born on November 23, 1804 in Hillsborough, New Hampshire. Pierce was more than just a career politician he was both a successful lawyer and brigadier general in the United States Army, during the Mexican American war.

Following in his father’s footsteps, Pierce entered politics at an early age. By the age of 24, Franklin Pierce was elected to the New Hampshire legislature. When he was only 26 years old, he was appointed Speaker of the New Hampshire legislature. Next, his political career led him to Washington, DC as an elected Representative and eventually a Senator for the state of New Hampshire.

In 1853, Franklin Pierce became the 14th President of the United States. Tragedy stuck the Pierce family just two months prior to Pierce taking the office of president. Both his wife and eleven year old son were killed in a train wreck. Franklin Pierce soldiered on and took the office while still grieving for his wife and child.

During his presidency, Franklin Pierce embraced westward expansion and supported popular sovereignty in Kansas, which allowed the citizens of Kansas to decide whether or not to allow slavery there. Pierce’s stance angered many abolitionists, who referred to him as a “doughface,” a northern politician who sympathized with the South. During his presidency, Pierce also approved the Gadsden Purchase, which added parts of modern-day Arizona and New Mexico to the United States.

President Pierce struggled his entire life with alcoholism and died at age 64, from cirrhosis of the liver.