Profession: 14th US President
Political Party: Democratic
Political Titles: United States Senator from New Hampshire, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from New Hampshire's at-large district
Why Famous: Pierce served as a Senator and Representative from New Hampshire prior to becoming the 14th President of the United States (1853–1857). Serving immediately prior to the Civil War, his inability to calm national tensions over slavery hastened the eventual outbreak of the conflict. Genial and well-spoken, he was a northern, pro-slavery Democrat who saw the abolitionist movement as a fundamental threat to the nation.
In foreign policy Pierce purchased land from Mexico and failed in his attempts to acquire Cuba from Spain. He also agreed trade deals with the UK and Japan.
While he desired to preserve the Union peacefully, his polarizing actions worsened the Bleeding Kansas confrontations and set the stage for Southern secession, leaving him widely regarded as one of the worst presidents in U.S. history.
- 1834-11-19 US President Franklin Pierce (30) weds Jane Pierce (28) in Amherst, New Hampshire
- 1852-11-02 Franklin Pierce elected as president of US
- 1853-01-06 Franklin Pierce, the President-elect of the United States at the time, and his family are involved in a train wreck in Massachusetts
- 1853-06-24 US President Franklin Pierce signs the Gadsden Purchase, buying 29,670 square-miles (76,800 square km) from Mexico for $10 million (now southern Arizona and New Mexico)
- 1853-07-14 US President Franklin Pierce opens 1st industrial exposition (NY)