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Franklin Pierce

14th President of the United States
(March 4, 1853 to March 3, 1857)

Nickname: "Young Hickory of the Granite Hills"

Born: November 23, 1804, in Hillsborough (now Hillsboro), New Hampshire
Died: October 8, 1869, in Concord, New Hampshire Father: General Benjamin Pierce
Mother: Ann Kendrick Pierce
Married: Jane Means Appleton (1806-1863), on November 10, 1834
Children: Franklin Pierce (1836); Frank Robert Pierce (1839-43); Benjamin Pierce (1841-53)

Religion: Episcopalian
Education: Graduated from Bowdoin College (1824)
Occupation: Lawyer, public official
Political Party: Democrat
Other Government Positions:

  • Served in New Hampshire Legislature, 1829-33

  • Member of U.S. House of Representatives, 1833-37

  • Unites States Senate, 1837-42

Presidential Salary: $25,000/year

Presidential Election Results:



Popular Votes

Electoral Votes


Franklin Pierce




Winfield Scott



Vice President: William R. King (1853-57)


Secretary of State

William L. Marcy (1853-57)

Secretary of the Treasury

James Guthrie (1853-57)

Secretary of War

Jefferson Davis (1853-57)

Attorney General

Caleb Cushing (1853-57)

Postmaster General

James Campbell (1853-57)

Secretary of the Navy

James C. Dobbin (1853-57)

Secretary of the Interior

Robert McClelland (1853-57)

Notable Events:

Internet Biographies:

Franklin Pierce -- from The Presidents of the United States of America

Compiled by the White House.

Franklin Pierce -- from Table of Presidents and Vice Presidents of the United States - MSN Encarta

Grolier Online has created this resource from its collection of print articles in Encyclopedia Americana. Contains a full biography, written by Philip S. Klein of Pennsylvania State University, along with suggestions for further reading.

Franklin Pierce -- from The American President

From the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia, in addition to information on the Presidents themselves, they have first lady and cabinet member biographies, listings of presidential staff and advisers, and timelines detailing significant events in the lives of each administration.

The Life of Franklin Pierce -- by Nathaniel Hawthorne

This detailed biography, written in 1852, is in the public domain.

Franklin Pierce's Obituary -- from Dead Presidents

The text from page 3 of The New York Times, October 9, 1869. Placed on the web by Manus Hand.

Thumbnail Biography of Franklin Pierce -- from What Where When New England

Yearly chronology of the life of Franklin Pierce with brief explanations.

Historical Documents:

Inaugural Address (1853)

Other Internet Resources:

The Franklin Pierce Pages

This site is a tongue-in-cheek "moving tribute to America's most obscure (and best looking) president."

The Pierce Manse

The historic home of Franklin Pierce located in Concord, New Hampshire. Tourist information and historical context can be found at this web site.

Points of Interest:

  • Pierce was arrested while in office for running over an old woman with his horse, but his case was dropped due to insufficient evidence in 1853.

  • He defeated his old commanding officer from the Mexican War, Winfield Scott, when he was elected president.

  • Pierce was wounded during the Mexican War.

  • One of the Democratic party's slogans during Pierce's campaign for president was: "We tiny U.S. flag Polked you in 1844; we shall Pierce you in 1852."

  • Benjamin, Pierce's third and only surviving child, died in a railroad accident two months before his father's inauguration.

  • Because of religious considerations Pierce affirmed rather than swore the Presidential oath of office.

  • Pierce gave his 3,319-word inaugural address from memory, without the aid of notes.

  • Pierce was the only President to have no turnover in his cabinet.

  • Pierce was the only elected President who sought but did not win his party's nomination for a second term.

  • During his second year at Bowdoin College in Maine, Pierce had the lowest grades out of anyone in his class. He changed his study habits, and graduated third in his class. Among his class mates were Nathaniel Hawthorne and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

  • Franklin Pierce was the first President to have a Christmas tree in the White House.

  • He installed the first central-heating system and the first bathroom with hot and cold water in the White House.

  • Pierce was an avid fisherman.

  • Pierce died of cirrhosis of the liver as a result of years of heavy drinking.




Franklin Pierce

14th President of the United States
(March 4, 1853 to March 3, 1857)


Jane Pierce