Franklin Pierce

Today’s president is Franklin Pierce. Pierce was the 14th president of the United States, sandwiched between Millard Fillmore and James Buchanan. The 1850s is generally acknowledged to be the worst decade for Presidents in American history, and Pierce certainly did his part. From New Hampshire, he served as US attorney and as a US representative and Senator before being selected as a compromise nominee on the 49th ballot of the Democratic National Convention of 1852. (It was something like 3 am after all those ballots; the chairman probably just said, “Who wants it? Frank? OK, you da man.”)
 
Pierce was helped in the election by his friendship with author Nathaniel Hawthorne, of “The Scarlet Letter” fame, who wrote a glowing biography for his campaign.
 
As President, Pierce did as little as possible. To be fair, many scholars believe that he may have been suffering from clinical depression, as his only surviving child died in a train accident at the age of 11 as he was making his way to Washington, DC to be inaugurated. He tried on a couple of occasions to acquire Cuba, but the Cubans turned him down, probably with liberal use of the word “pendejo.” The elephant in the room during his term, though, was the institution of slavery; Pierce carefully and thoroughly blew up decades of compromise on the issue by signing the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which invalidated the Missouri Compromise and the Compromise of 1820 and probably made the Civil War inevitable. 
 
He ran for a second term but was beaten for the nomination by James Buchanan, who is almost universally hailed as the worst president in American history.
 
Pierce sought to be seen as an elder statesman after his term, but his alcoholism and dabbling in spiritualism made that role unlikely, at best. The alcoholism ultimately killed him; he continued to drink heavily until he died in 1869 at the age of 64, from cirhossis of the liver. 

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Douglas Byzewski

Nice writeup. I can see Franklin Pierce giving Buchanan a run for his money. My daughter did think he was good looking when she was younger.