Franklin Pierce, the 14th President of the United States

Franklin Pierce

(1804-1869)

WHO HE WAS:

Franklin Pierce, the 14th President of the United States, served during a time of apparent tranquility that belied the simmering tensions leading to the Civil War. A northern Democrat who saw the abolitionist movement as a fundamental threat to the unity of the nation, Pierce's presidency is marked by his support for the Kansas-Nebraska Act and his enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Act.

WHAT HE SAID:

"There's nothing left to do but get drunk," which reportedly were his words after losing the nomination for his party for a second term.

WHY HE MATTERED:

Franklin Pierce's presidency is a study in the complexities of leadership amidst division. His policies, often seen as conciliatory to the pro-slavery South, further polarized the country and set the stage for the explosive conflicts of the following decades. Pierce's administration illustrates the challenges of governing a nation on the brink of splitting apart.