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Franklin Pierce: A Presidential Unit

Franklin Pierce was born 23 Nov 1804 in Hillsborough, New Hampshire in a log cabin on the Contoocook River. He was the 14th US President and the first president to be born in the 19th century. Pierce died 8 Oct 1869, in Concord, New Hampshire.

Political Party: Democrat
Years Served: 4 March 1853 – 3 March 1857
Vice President(s): William R. King
Name of his parents: General Benjamin Pierce and Ann Kendrick
Wife’s name: Jane Means Appleton (1806-1863), on November 10, 1834
Yearly Salary as President: $25,000.00
Physical Stature: 5 feet, 10 inches
State of Birth: New Hampshire


“Franklin Pierce volunteered to fight in the Mexican War. He became a colonel, but was ill much of the time and seldom fought. Piece was the first of the “dark horse” candidates, a term for someone who is not widely known. Pierce was nominated by the Democrats because the couldn’t decide on anyone else .”

On Line Lesson Plans:

Franklin Pierce from TeacherVision
Franklin Pierce from DiscoverySchool.com
Presidential Thinkquest


Coloring Pages, Crafts, and Fun Activities:

Presidential Finger Puppets
Annie’s Page
Zachary Taylor from Enchanted Learning


On Line Resources:

Biography of Franklin Pierce
The Life of Franklin Pierce by Nathaniel Hawthoren
Franklin Pierce’s Obituary
Young Franklin Pierce
Timeline Biography of Franklin Pierce
The Pierce Manse
American Presidents’ Life Portraits
The American Presidency from Grollier
White House Historical Society
The History Buff -- US Presidents
Roll Call of the Presidents


Trivia Questions:

1. What other government positions did Pierce hold? [Answer: Served in New Hampshire Legislature, 1829-33; Member of U.S. House of Representatives, 1833-37; Unites States Senate, 1837-42]

2. What were some of the notable events in Pierce’s presidency? [Answer: 1853 - Gadsden Purchase; 1854 - Kansas-Nebraska Act; Ostend Manifesto; Treaty with Japan negotiated by Commodore Matthew Perry]

3. What were the names of Pierce’s children? [Answer: Franklin Pierce (1836); Frank Robert Pierce (1839-43); Benjamin Pierce (1841-53)]

Of Note:

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 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.

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