Tuesday, September 20, 2016

American Tragedy: President Franklin Pierce

Portrait of Franklin Pierce by Mathew Brady

As another Lame Cherry exclusive in matter anti matter.

Franklin Pierce was the inheritor of the "peace in his time", but America's 14th President was a Democrat who could best be described as a New Englander with good intentions who trusted his Southern advisers to keep the terminal illness  America was suffering from, going DOA.

President Pierce was a most amiable gentle man of New Hampshire. One of his great friends was Nathaniel Hawthorne, and he was a devoted advocate of President Andrew Jackson in the Jacksonian or People's Democracy.
He was more of a "creation" than a man of means for his father was Governor of New Hampshire, and this opened the way for his legislative rise. During the Mexican American War, President Polk commissioned Pierce a Brigadier General and his only qualification was that he was a Democrat.
With that background in 1852 and 48 ballots at the Democratic Convention, Pierce became the nominee and President, simply because the Compromise of 1850 was what Democrats clung to for peace and Americans were looking for a peace in their time.

President Pierce though began his life as President with another sorrow. He had two children who had died, and a third, a son, died before his eyes in a train accident, two months before he became President. His wife, simply withdrew from the world, and as Pierce attempted to assert himself against the British in Central America and entice Spain to sell Cuba, the firestorm at home was building in from the authorship of Senator Stephen Douglas of Illinois.
Douglas' 1850 Compromise had brought America to where she desired to be, but now he followed up with the Kansas Nebraska Act of 1854, which literally wiped out the 1850 Compromise.

What was taking place in America, as again the factional powers of  the South and North at odds for power and slavery has nothing to do with it, except as an incindiary point, for this was about railroads.
Stephen Douglas was proposing a Chicago to California railroad through Nebraska, while Secretary of War Jefferson Davis was proposing a Southern route which was being laid in the Gadsden Purchase of southern New Mexico and Arizona, costing 10 million dollars for this vital southern rail line.

The entire issue was sent by President Pierce to be one of democratic rights in States deciding the outcome of their States, and with that northerners and southerners poured into Kansas and the Civil War in miniature broke out in Bloody Kansas.

The Democrats now followed the lead of the Whigs in refusing to nominate the worn Franklin Pierce for President, and chose instead James Buchanan, the last of the American Tragedy Presidents.