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Franklin Pierce - with Periodic Presidents 

“Handsome Frank” as he was known, was born in New Hampshire on November 23, 1803. After serving as the Speaker of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, Pierce was elected to US House of Representatives in 1832, establishing a successful political career before turning 30. He was then elected to the Senate, before serving as a Brigadier General in the Mexican War. Pierce was thrown from his horse and sustained injuries, limiting his activity during the war. In 1852, Pierce was given the democratic nomination. Pierce was a dark horse candidate, and easily defeated Whig candidate, General Winfield Scott, 254 to 42 in the electoral vote. 

Pierce began his presidency emotionally devastated, as his youngest son, Benny, was killed in a train wreck weeks before the inauguration. Pierce and his wife Jane witnessed the accident, and it was one of many tragedies that he endured in his lifetime. Pierce had 3 sons, but sadly all had passed away by the time Pierce was sworn into office. 


The presidency of Franklin Pierce was largely unsuccessful. Although Pierce oversaw the Gadsden Purchase which makes up part of present day Arizona and New Mexico, his presidency is most remembered for the Kansas-Nebraska Act. The act repealed the Missouri Compromise, and once again brought up the issue of slavery in the West. The march towards the Civil War was intensified following its signing, and led to the  violence which is known as Bleeding Kansas. 


Pierce was not chosen by the Democratic Party for reelection, and he returned to New Hampshire. Pierce struggled with alcohol in his remaining years, and died on October 8, 1869 from cirrhosis of the liver.

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