THE FOURTEENTH U.S. PRESIDENT FRANKLIN PIERCE (1804-1869)
It would seem that Franklin Pierce was destined to become president. Born in 1804, Pierce was the 5th child of Benjamin and Anna Pierce. He was the only president from New Hampshire. Franklin Pierce would see his father, Benjamin Pierce, work as the governor’s councilman, county sheriff, and elected Governor of New Hampshire twice.
Education of their eight children was a high priority for the Pierces. After finishing his primary education in a local schoolhouse, 12-year-old Franklin was sent off to a boarding school in a nearby town. He walked several miles to return home. His father insisted that he return to school and left him on the road to walk back. Reflecting on this time of his life, Pierce considered it a turning point. He focused on his studies from then on and was very successful through law school.
Pierce got involved with politics early in his career. Between 1829 and 1833, he was twice elected to the New Hampshire state legislature, became the speaker of the New Hampshire Democratic Party, and was appointed Chairman of the House Education Committee.
FRANKLIN PIERCE - PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
In late 1832, the Democratic Party convention nominated Pierce for one of New Hampshire's five seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. He won unopposed and served from 1833-1837. The successful gubernatorial race of Senator Isaac Hill left a vacant seat in the Senate. When the next term began in 1837, Pierce had taken his place and retained his seat in the Senate from 1837 to 1842.
It was during this period of time that Pierce became known for his political views. He once said: "I consider slavery a social and political evil, and most sincerely wish that it had no existence upon the face of the earth." It would appear that he supported the abolitionist movement but his voting record shows that he supported keeping slavery in place so that the increasingly agitated public would not begin a revolt. After resigning from the Senate at his wife’s insistence, Pierce joined the temperance movement and established a law practice in Concord.
BRIGADIER GENERAL FRANKLIN PIERCE IN THE MEXICAN AMERICAN WAR
Pierce long admired his brothers’ and father’s military service. When President Polk declared war against Mexico, he immediately volunteered. It was early 1847 when he was appointed colonel in the infantry and then promoted to brigadier general. In the midst of a battle, Pierce was thrown from his horse and suffered a serious knee injury. He insisted on retaining his command despite his pain and played a key role in the resulting armistice.
Upon his return to New Hampshire, Pierce dove into politics once again. As the leader of the state's Democratic Party, he was well aware of their intention to nominate a pro-slavery presidential candidate for the 1952 election. After securing the nomination he and his running mate William King defeated the Whig Party candidates Winfield Scott and William Graham by a 50.9-44.1 in the popular vote and 254-42 in electoral votes. Pierce gave his inaugural address from memory hailing peace and prosperity.
A STRIKING RENDERING OF PRESIDENT FRANKLIN PIERCE
Pierce suffered a tragic loss just two months before taking office. On their way home from Boston, the family was trapped in their train car as it rolled off the tracks into an embankment. While Franklin and Jane Pierce watched, their 11-year-old son was crushed to death. Added to the pain of having lost two other sons to illness, there is no doubt that profound sadness prevented Pierce from being an effective leader.
Because Pierce had made some extremely unpopular decisions during his presidency, he continues to be touted as one of the least effective presidents in the history of the United States. In-fact his own party failed to nominate him for a second term. After their hopes for reelection had been crushed, the Pierces traveled abroad to relax. In 1869, six years after his wife had passed away, Pierce succumbed to cirrhosis of the liver and was buried in the family plot in Concord.
WHITE HOUSE CHINA OF PRESIDENT FRANKLIN PIERCE - FROM THE COLLECTION OF RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX
You may have the opportunity to own pieces from this historically significant china collection. World-renowned collector, Raleigh DeGeer Amyx, has recently acquired this exceptional treasure. Engage with Mr. Amyx to inquire about President Franklin Pierce’s White House China, or other rare Presidential pieces that may become available.
RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX - HISTORIAN & COLLECTOR