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Home > History > President 14 - Franklin Pierce Biography - Presidents Series

President 14 - Franklin Pierce Biography - Presidents Series

This is a full biography on Franklin Pierce. It is part of our presidents series.
Franklin Pierce

Franklin Pierce

14th President

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.

In Politics at a Young Age

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.

A Terrible Tragedy Upon Becoming the 14th President

In 1853, Franklin Pierce became the 14th President of the United States. Tragedy stuck the Pierce family just two months prior to Franklin taking the office of president. The couple's eleven year-old son, Benny, was killed when the family's train derailed. Despite the horrendous tragedy, Pierce endured and took the office while still grieving for his child.

Rolling Toward Civil War

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. Pierce's presidency, however, is remembered for its inability to stem the rising tide of secession, and its failure to solve sectional conflict. Some historians rank his presidency as among the worst of all presidents. His support in the North was further compromised as he became a vocal critic of Abraham Lincoln.

Franklin Pierce Political Cartoon

Political Cartoon Showing Franklin Pierce as pushing Slavery

Death be not Proud

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

United States Presidents

 1. George Washington  16. Abraham Lincoln  32. Franklin D. Roosevelt
 2. John Adams  17. Andrew Johnson  33. Harry S. Truman
 3. Thomas Jefferson  18. Ulysses S. Grant  34. Dwight D. Eisenhower 
 4. James Madison  19. Rutherford B. Hayes  35. John F. Kennedy
 5. James Monroe  20. James A. Garfield  36. Lyndon B. Johnson
 6. John Quincy Adams  21. Chester A. Arthur  37. Richard Nixon
 7. Andrew Jackson  22/24. Grover Cleveland  38. Gerald R. Ford
 8. Martin Van Buren  23. Benjamin Harrison  39. Jimmy Carter
 9. William Henry Harrison  25. William McKinley  40. Ronald Reagan
10. John Tyler  26. Theodore Roosevelt  41. George H.W. Bush
11. James K. Polk  27. William Howard Taft  42. Bill Clinton
12. Zachary Taylor  28. Woodrow Wilson  43. George W. Bush
13. Millard Fillmore  29. Warren G. Harding  44. Barack Obama
14. Franklin Pierce  30. Calvin Coolidge  45. Donald J. Trump
15. James Buchanan  31. Herbert Hoover  

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