Key Dates

1843 Franklin Pierce Jr. dies from typhoid fever.

1852 Pierce is elected President.

1853 President Pierce purchases land in present-day New Mexico and Arizona from Mexico.

1854 Congress passes the Kansas-Nebraska Act that allowed residents of those states decide if they want slavery in their state. The Republican Party is formed to protest that act.

1855 Fighting breaks out in Kansas over whether to allow slavery.

1856 James Buchanan is elected President. 1869 Franklin Pierce dies.


Franklin Pierce
1853 - 1857
Fourteenth President

Franklin Pierce was born in Hillsboro, New Hampshire on November 25, 1804.

Two months before his inauguration, the Pierce family was involved in a train wreck and their 11-year-old son, Benjamin, was thrown from the car and crushed to death before their eyes.

On being nominated Pierce said: “You’re looking at the most surprised man that ever lived.” 

President Pierce did not use a bible to take the oath of office. He felt God had passed his judgement with the death of Pierce's son.

Franklin Pierce gave his inaugural address without notes. He gave the 3,319 speech from memory.

Franklin Pierce was arrested for running over a woman while driving his carriage in Washington, DC. The charges were later dropped.

Franklin Pierce served in the Mexican War.

Campaign slogan: “We Polked ‘em in ’44 , and we we’ll Pierce ‘em in ’52."

When he took office, Pierce was the youngest and probably the handsomest president up to that time.

President Pierce
Franklin Pierce.
Library of Congress

Franklin Pierce didn't have a Vice President. William Rufus DeVane King was elected VP, but died before assuming office, and was not replaced. He was the second President who didn't have a Vice President. Fillmore was the first.

He had a long battle with alcoholism. Heavy drinking over the years undermined his health.

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

Central heating was installed in the White House during his administration. 

Commodore Perry brought back two tiny "sleeve dogs" from Japan and gave them to President Pierce. The dog was small enough to sit on a saucer. The President kept one of the dogs and gave the other to Jefferson Davis. Davis later became president of the Confederacy.

He was the only president to not have any turnover in his cabinet.

His party did not nominate him for a second term.

Franklin Pierce died in Concord, New Hampshire on October 8, 1869. He was 64 years and 319 days old. He is buried in the Old North Cemetery in Concord, N.H.


Quick Facts

14th President 1855-1857

Born: Hilsboro, N.H. November 23, 1804

Party: Democratic

Died: Concord, N.H. Oct. 8, 1869, age 64




  • The Presidents of the United States. 22 September 2004
  • Davis, Gibbs and Ilus. David A. Johnson. Wackiest White House Pets. New York: Scholastic Press, October 2004
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  • Harnsberger, Caroline Thomas. Treasury of Presidential Quotations. Chicago: Follett Publishing Company, 1964
  • Kane, Joseph Natan. Facts about the Presidents from Washington to Johnson. New York: H.W. Wilson Company, 1964.
  • National Park Service Web Site on Presidential Trivia:

Additional Sources:


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This page was last modified: January 31, 2012