Franklin Pierce

Franklin Pierce

Book - 2010 | 1st ed.
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The genial but troubled New Englander whose single-minded partisan loyalties inflamed the nation's simmering battle over slavery

Charming and handsome, Franklin Pierce of New Hampshire was drafted to break the deadlock of the 1852 Democratic convention. Though he seized the White House in a landslide against the imploding Whig Party, he proved a dismal failure in office.

Michael F. Holt, a leading historian of nineteenth-century partisan politics, argues that in the wake of the Whig collapse, Pierce was consumed by an obsessive drive to unify his splintering party rather than the roiling country. He soon began to overreach. Word leaked that Pierce wanted Spain to sell the slave-owning island of Cuba to the United States, rousing sectional divisions. Then he supported repeal of the Missouri Compromise, which limited the expansion of slavery in the west. Violence broke out, and "Bleeding Kansas" spurred the formation of the Republican Party. By the end of his term, Pierce's beloved party had ruptured, and he lost the nomination to James Buchanan.

In this incisive account, Holt shows how a flawed leader, so dedicated to his party and ill-suited for the presidency, hastened the approach of the Civil War.

Publisher: New York : Times Books/Henry Holt and Co., 2010.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780805087192
0805087192
Branch Call Number: BIO PIERCE HOLT
Characteristics: xviii, 154 p. ; 22 cm.

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beetle101
Nov 01, 2013

Considered one this country's worst Presidents, there is more to his story than just his four years in the White House. A gifted man, who despite tragic events in his personal life, still proceeded to do what he thought best for the Union, however short-sighted they might have been.

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