Franklin Pierce Leaves Office

Wednesday, March 4, 1857

Franklin Pierce, hand-colored lithograph, circa 1853. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Franklin Pierce, a Northern Democrat, veteran of the Mexican-American War, and the 14th president of the United States, leaves office. As president, he supported the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which ignited tensions over the expansion of slavery in the American West. With his failure to resolve the resulting "Bleeding Kansas" violence, Pierce loses the support of his own party and loses the 1856 Democratic Party nomination to James Buchanan. While Buchanan goes on to be elected president, Pierce leaves office and suffers from alcoholism and marital problems before further damaging his reputation in the North by supporting the Confederacy at the outset of the Civil War.


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