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Franklin Pierce
Birth: Nov. 23, 1804
Hillsboro
Hillsborough County
New Hampshire, USA
Death: Oct. 8, 1869
Concord
Merrimack County
New Hampshire, USA

US Congressman, Senator, and President. A member of the Democratic Party, he served as the 14th US President from March 1853 until March 1857. Born in a log cabin, he was the 5th of eight children whose paternal ancestors came over from England in the 1630s. His father was a prominent politician farmer, and tavern-keeper who fought in the American Revolutionary War. He received his early education at a local school and in 1816 he attended the Hancock Academy, transferring later that year to the Phillips Exter Academy in Exter, New Hampshire, a college preparatory school. In 1820 he enrolled at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine and graduated in 1824, teaching school during his final year in Hebron, Maine. After briefly studying law with former New Hampshire Governor Levi Woodbury in Portsmouth, New Hampshire he spent a semester at Northampton Law School in Northampton, Massachusetts, followed by a period of study in 1826 and 1827 under Judge Edmund Parker in Amherst, New Hampshire. In late 1827 he was admitted to the bar and began to practicing law in Hillsborough, New Hampshire and in 1828 he entered politics as the town moderator, serving in the position for six years. In 1829 he was elected to the Hew Hampshire House of Representatives, representing Hillsborough. By 1831 the Democrats held a legislative majority, and he was elected Speaker of the House and he used this platform to oppose the expansion of banking, protect the state militia, and to offer support to the national Democrats and Jackson's re-election effort. He served in the state militia and in 1831 was appointed aide de camp to Governor Samuel Dinsmoor. He remained in the state militia until 1847, attaining the rank of colonel. In late 1832 he was nominated for one of New Hampshire's five seats in the US House of Representatives and was elected, serving from March 1833 until March 1837. In 1836 he was elected to the US Senate, serving from march 1837 until February 1842, becoming at age 32 the youngest member in Senate history to that point. He supported newly elected Democratic president Martin Van Buren and his plan to create an independent treasury, a proposal which split the Democratic Party. Debate over slavery continued in Congress, and abolitionists proposed its end in the District of Columbia, where Congress had jurisdiction. He supported a resolution by Senator John C. Calhoun against this proposal, which he considered a dangerous stepping stone to nationwide emancipation. After the Whigs won the presidential election in 1840 with William Henry Harrison, he resigned from the US Senate in February 1842 and returned home to his law practice. He campaigned for Democratic presidential candidate James K. Polk in the 1844 election and when Polk won, he appointed Pierce the US Attorney for New Hampshire. When the US declared war against Mexico in May 1846, he volunteered for service in the US Army and was appointed a colonel, commanding the newly formed 9th Infantry Regiment the following February. In March 1847, he was promoted to the rank of brigadier general, commanding a brigade of reinforcements for General Winfield Scott's army. He led his men inland to meet up with General Scott, in time for the Battle of Contreras. The battle was disastrous for him when his horse was suddenly startled during a charge, knocking him groin-first against his saddle. The horse then tripped into a crevice and fell, pinning him underneath and leaving him with a debilitating knee injury for which he never recovered for the remainder of the war. He returned to New Hampshire in December 1847 to resume his legal practice and resigned from the US Army. In 1852 he was one of the candidates considered for the presidency at the Democratic National Convention and after a grueling 49 ballots, his name finally emerged as the winner and he went on to defeat the Whig candidate, Winfield Scott, by an easy margin and became the youngest person to be elected president to that point. He began his presidency in mourning when on January 6, 1853, the President-elect's family had been traveling from Boston by train when their car derailed and rolled down an embankment near Andover, Massachusetts. Pierce and his wife Jane survived, but in the wreckage they found their only remaining son, 11-year-old Benjamin, crushed to death. Both he and his wife suffered severe depression afterward, which likely affected his performance as president. At his inauguration, he became first president to deliver his inaugural address from memory. His Vice President, William R. King, died the month after his inauguration and the post remained vacant for the remainder of his term, as the US Constitution contained no provision for filling the vacancy. On the domestic side, his Treasury Secretary James Guthrie reformed the US Treasury, increasing oversight of Treasury employees and tariff collectors, many of whom were withholding money from the government, and recouped funds intended for the Treasury that were deposited into private banks. He also sought to find potential transcontinental railroad routes throughout the country, as well as construction projects n the District of Columbia, including the expansion of the US Capitol and building of the Washington Monument. On foreign policy, the US negotiated a treaty with Mexico to purchase land in America's southwest, in present-day southern Arizona and New Mexico, known as the Gadsden Purchase. In 1854 Commodore Matthew C. Perry visited Japan (a venture originally planned under President Millard Fillmore) in an effort to expand trade to the East that resulted in a modest trade treaty with the Japanese shogunate which was successfully ratified. In 1856 he became a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination but James Buchanan emerged as the winner, who went on to win the presidency, but by a smaller margin. When he and his cabinet left office on March 1857, it was the only time in US history that the original cabinet members all remained for a full four-year term. In May 1857 he returned to New Hampshire and he and his wife eventually moved into a new home in Portsmouth, and he began speculating in real estate. Seeking a warmer climate, they spent the next three years traveling, beginning with a stay in Madeira and followed by tours of Europe and the Bahamas. He refused to run as a Democratic candidate for president in 1860 and was strongly opposed to a civil war to resolve the differences between the North and South. He was also publicly opposed to some of President Abraham Lincoln's policies, including the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus and the institution of the military draft. His drinking took a toll on his health in his final years and he became increasingly spiritual. He farmed his land and maintained an interest in politics, expressing support for Andrew Johnson's Reconstruction policy and supported the president's acquittal in his impeachment trial. Suffering from severe cirrhosis of the liver, he died at his home at the age of 64. After his death, he mostly passed from the American consciousness, except as one of a series of presidents whose disastrous tenures led to civil war. His presidency is widely regarded as a failure and is often described as one of the worst presidents in American history. Part of his failure was in allowing a divided Congress to take the initiative, most disastrously with the Kansas-Nebraska Act and he paid the cost in damage to his reputation, although he did not lead the fight. His failure to secure sectional conciliation helped bring an end to the dominance of the Democratic Party that had started with Andrew Jackson, and led to a period of over seventy years when the Republicans mostly controlled national politics. The Franklin Pierce Homestead in Hillsborough is a state park and a National Historic Landmark, open to the public. The Pierce Manse, his Concord home from 1842 to 1848, is open seasonally and maintained by a volunteer group. The Franklin Pierce University in Rindge, New Hampshire, chartered in 1962, is named in his memory and the University of New Hampshire School of Law at Concord, founded in 1973, was named the Franklin Pierce Law Center. When the school was renamed in 2010, a Franklin Pierce Center for Intellectual Property was established. (bio by: William Bjornstad) 
 
Family links: 
 Parents:
  Benjamin Pierce (1757 - 1839)
  Anna Kendrick Pierce (1768 - 1838)
 
 Spouse:
  Jane M. Appleton Pierce (1806 - 1863)
 
 Children:
  Franklin Pierce (1836 - 1836)*
  Frank Robert Pierce (1839 - 1843)*
  Benjamin Pierce (1841 - 1853)*
 
 Siblings:
  Benjamin K Pierce (1790 - 1850)*
  Franklin Pierce (1804 - 1869)
  Henry Dearborn Pierce (1812 - 1880)*
 
*Calculated relationship

Cause of death: Chronic inflammation of the stomach attended with dropsical efficiency of the abdomen
 
Burial:
Old North Cemetery
Concord
Merrimack County
New Hampshire, USA
Plot: Minot enclosure adjoining Old North Cemetery
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Record added: Jan 01, 2001
Find A Grave Memorial# 814
Franklin Pierce
Added by: Anonymous
 
Franklin Pierce
Added by: Ron Moody
 
Franklin Pierce
Added by: Randy McCoy
 
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God bless you and thank you for your honorable, selfless service. This We'll Defend. Rest in Peace.
- LTC B, USAR (ret)
 Added: Aug. 30, 2014
Thank you for your military and public service to our country. You serrved as US President during a very turbulent time in American history. May you rest in peace.
- William Bjornstad
 Added: Aug. 28, 2014
God bless you, Mr President. Rest in Peace.
- Rick
 Added: Jul. 9, 2014
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