Better Know A President XVII: Andrew Johnson

22 02 2011

So, it’s been a while. There has been a long emptiness between my last post in the series and this one. Ultimately I forgot what my goal was when I started this series, and that was to give a quick overview without going to in depth. I am so inspired by the Presidency. The job is has been served by a wide range of personalities and backgrounds, and even the bad ones still get their faces on statues. But with renewed vision, I intend to finish what I started. Without further interruptions…

ANDREW JOHNSON

Served from 1865 to 1869

Before serving as President, he served as a Representative and Senator from Tennessee, and also served as its Governor. He was Lincoln’s VP for a mere month before replacing him after his assassination.

Before politics, he served as a tailor in North Carolina and Tennessee. Having no formal education, (he taught himself to read and write, and his wife taught him arithmetic) he became inspired to politics by another famous Tennessean, Andrew Jackson.

In the U.S. Senate, Johnson supported the Homestead Act, allowing any citizen to claim 160 acres of undeveloped land west of the Mississippi River. This act signed in 1862, continued until 1976. Johnson supported the Union over slavery, and consequently was the only Senator from the South not to vacate his seat.

Johnson was chosen to replace Hannibal Hamlin as Lincoln’s VP to help the ticket have wider appeal. Johnson had typhoid when he gave a speech at the inauguration, and to help him fight the pain he experienced, he had been drinking heavily.

Johnson was a target during the Lincoln Assassination, as well as future President Ulysses Grant and Sec. of State William Sewell. His attacker failed to go through with his part of the plan.

The largest issue Johnson faced was Reconstruction. Johnson was elected to the Vice-Presidency as a Republican, but turned his back on them when he became President. His policies changed, to the anger of many Republicans, who thought they would easily be able to pass legislation. At once, Johnson fought for the immediate inclusion of the seceded states in Congress, and also fought against various civil rights bills, including the 14th Amendment. He also worked to pass laws against newly freed slaves.

There were two attempts to impeach Johnson. The first attempt failed, but the second attempt did not. Johnson violated the newly made Tenure of Office Act, when he attempted to remove Republican Edwin Stanton from his post as Sec. of War. The act made it so that anyone who was chosen to a cabinet position by a previous President could not be removed, unless the Senate approved.  The House voted for Impeachment, but the Senate accquited by only one vote. 7 Republicans borke party lines to keep him in office. In later years, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Tenure of Office Act was unconstitutional.

Admitted Nebraska into the Union, and also bought Alaska from Russia at 2 cents an acre, for a total of 7.2 million dollars (108 million today)
ANDREW JOHNSON ANECDOTES

While Governor of Tennessee, he made a suit for the Governor of Kentucky, who in turn made Johnson a shovel and tongs (he was a blacksmith)

Because he stayed with the Union, he repeatedly fought back mobs while he was in the South, even pulling a revolver at times to defend himself.

ANDREW JOHNSON QUOTES

I feel incompetent to perform duties… which have been so unexpectedly thrown upon me.

Outside of the Constitution we have no legal authority more than private citizens, and within it we have only so much as that instrument gives us. This broad principle limits all our functions and applies to all subjects.

The goal to strive for is a poor government but a rich people.





Better Know A President XVI: Abraham Lincoln Part I

8 12 2009

I noticed today, in going over this incomplete history of Lincoln, that it finished at the point of his Presidency. So, I thought that before attempting to finish his overview after finishing my finals this semester, I would post what I have so far. I apologize beforehand for the length of this “summary”, but there is a plethora of interesting Lincoln stories which makes it all the harder to be selective.

It hardly seems adequate to summarize such a great man and great President in only a few words. People could write a million pages on Lincoln (and I suspect that they have) and there would still be more to write. While I will try to give a detailed description of his life, I will also try to keep it short. Lincoln is arguably the greatest President in our history, so I would highly encourage you to really study this man and his life.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN

-Served from 1861-1865

-Elected from Illinois

-He was actually born in Kentucky, not Illinois as most people believe. In fact, he spent his early childhood there, before his family moved to extreme southern Indiana. They moved because their land was taken away after the family became too poor to pay for it. After continuing financial problems, they moved near present day Decatur, Illinois, and then another move to Coles County, Illinois.

-If there was one word to describe Lincoln’s life, I think it would be “hardships”. Lincoln overcame many of them to become the incredible person and President we know him as. Being the son of two farmers, Lincoln only received a little formal education as a child. Lincoln also grew up in a poor household. While living in Indiana, his mother died of milk sickness. The first serious relationship he had with Ann Rutledge ended with Ann dying of typhoid fever. His marriage proposal to another woman was flat out rejected. Of the four children Lincoln had with Mary Todd, only one, Robert, lived to adulthood. Edward died before he was even 4, Willie famously died while Lincoln was serving as President at 11, and Tad died of tuberculosis in Chicago at 18. Because of the deaths, Mary Todd famously went insane while in the White House.

-Lincoln ran as a Whig to the Illinois House at the age of 23, but he was no elected. Without a job, he enlisted into the Illinois militia.

-Served in the Illinois militia as a Captain during the Black Hawk War. He made political friends during his service, and also received a land-grant in Iowa of over 160 acres (which he never used). He served 3 months (sporadically) before he was honorably discharged. There are conflicting reports of his skill as a military leader. Some called him quite effective, while others saw him as a joke. After his dischargement, he walked back to New Salem, Illinois where he was living at the time. Suffice to say, it was a long walk that took several days to complete.

-After the war, he tried to start various businesses, all of which failed to take off. Lincoln even acquired a liquor license during this time, and sold his own whiskey. When business did not work out for him, he decided to teach himself law. He did this quite successfully, and in 1837 he moved to Springfield and started his own practice. Law practice worked well for Lincoln. In his time as an attorney, he worked 5,100 cases over 23 years of service. The most famous case he was involved in was when he successfully defended William Armstrong against a murder charge. Armstrong was acquitted when Lincoln proved through judicial notice that a previous testimony was actually false.

-Served 4 terms (8 years) in the Illinois House after his early failure to be elected. He represented Sangamon County, which included the eventual state capital Springfield. Lincoln and other politicians in the area were the main reason Springfield became the capital. Through his continually rising prominence as an accomplished lawyer, Lincoln eventually earned a seat in the US House, where he served only one term from 1847-1849. His time there was mostly uneventful, because he was not well respected by others in the House, nor did he have any influence. His most famous moment at the time was when he challenged the then President James K. Polk on where the first American soldier had died. Polk’s argument was that the Mexican soldier had crossed over into US soil and had attacked, but Lincoln demanded that Polk show the exact spot that the soldier was fired upon to prove it. Lincoln even started a Spot Resolution to get Polk to show where the soldier was attacked. (Lincoln was right, in that the soldier had died on disputed lands.) The resolution was ignored entirely, and it made Lincoln look like a fool. Without any support, he decided to not seek reelection to his seat. He then went back to Springfield, and resumed practicing law for many years. During that time, he was a major proponent of Western expansion and fought in defense of many people and businesses that were helping in Western expansion.

-Not coincidentally, Lincoln reentered politics in 1854 with the passing of the Kansas-Nebraska Act. During his time in both the Illinois Senate and the US House, Lincoln fought vehemently against slavery. The KNA created such a vast change in the political landscape of the country that Lincoln felt compelled to speak. His speech in Peoria of that year gave him incentive to try politics again.

-He was central to the foundation of the Republican Party (the same one that exists today). He helped them establish the foundation of their political party. The new party did well in Illinois, and their first major victory was in the election of a US Senator. (At the time, the state legislature chose the Senators, not the public.) Everyone in the state wanted Lincoln to become the Senator, but he declined it. Instead, he focused on delivering more speeches and helping the new Republican party. Four years later, however, the law of Senator election had changed, and Lincoln challenged incumbent Senator Stephen A. Douglas.

-The election between Lincoln and Douglas arguably established Lincoln’s political career toward the Presidency. While he lost the election, the debates that were held in 7 different towns across Illinois attracted masses of people, many of whom were not even from Illinois because they were talking heatedly on the issue of Slavery. Stenographers recorded the debate and printed them in national newspapers. After the election, Lincoln compiled all of the documents, edited them, and then published them in his own book. The media coverage and the popularity of the book (particularly when they addressed slavery) thrust Lincoln into the national political spotlight. The debate format used by the two men (60 minutes for the first speaker, 90 minutes for the second, and a 30 minute rebuttal by the first speaker) established debate as a tradition is modern elections, and has been used popularly since.

-In 1860, Lincoln was chosen as the candidate for the Republican Party for the Presidency in Chicago. He was the only candidate that appealed to the most amount of people, hence why he was chosen. The other candidates (notably Salmon P. Chase and William Seward) had been in politics too long and had many political enemies. Lincoln did not publically campaign for the Presidency, but Republican Party officials shared his story of growing up in poverty and his political beliefs. Essentially, the 1860 boiled down to the split in Northern interests, and Southern interests. Lincoln appealed to most Northerners, and John Breckinridge (running as a Southern Democratic in the newly split party) appealed to most Southerners. Lincoln won the election, without winning a single Southern state. (Lincoln did poorly in the Southern states) This, probably more than anything else was the final straw before South Carolina started the secession trend. It gave the impression that the South’s ideas on the Union (specifically on electing the President) would be mute because the North could unite and elect whoever they wanted without input from the Southern states. Less than a month after Lincoln’s election, South Carolina left the Union followed by Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas.

-Lincoln had to arrive in disguise to his own Inauguration, because of the many death threats he received before arriving in Washington. Before his Inauguration, he repeatedly stated that seccesion was illegal, and that there would be no compromise to keep the Southern states in the Union. If there was one major mistake in his Presidency, it was probably that he completely underestimated the anger of the Confederacy. Lincoln thought that they could still preserve the Union without going to war. He also refused to attack the South until they had attacked first, which they did on April 12, at Fort Sumter in South Carolina.

-Lincoln had power that no President had before. In the intial stages of the war, he arrested people suspected of instigating rebellions in states bordering Conferderate land and held them without trials in prisons.





Boiling Thoughts

24 07 2009

Starting is always the hardest part of doing anything. Once you take that first step, everything just goes by so much faster.

This is probably the most useful lesson I’ve learned all summer here in Galveston. Starting this internship was difficult. Although I had decided a long time ago in the Winter to do this internship, leaving home after being there only a week and a half after school was not easy. Starting work on Central Christian Church that first week was not easy. I wasn’t really told how to do what I needed to get done that week. Basically, I was just put out there on my own. But, once I had it figured out and we started getting things done…well…now I’m here at the end of it. I leave Galveston tomorrow morning (even though we should have been out of here last night). It’s so weird that 9 nweeks have seemingly gone by in a flash, but at the same time, I never thought I would get out of here, at times. There were some emotional highs and lows, and there was drama more often than not, but really, it never overshadowed the good things that we accomplished here. I met some people here that I don’t think I could ever forget. I think the most amazing thing that I experienced this summer was that the work we did is a beautiful patchwork. What Paul and Morgan from Columbus, Georgia did the first week outside the church (putting up the plywood walls, tearing out old gutters, putting in windows, and more), people from Missouri took over the next week and finished up. What Kyle, Dwight, and I accomplished at Second Christian Church one week, was taken over and improved upon the next week by a group from Colorado. People from all over worked together to get all of this work done. While they never met each other, a little part of each one of the people here lives in these walls and together they have made these two churches we’ve been working on new life and new spirit through the love and effort they put in their work. That’s so empowering to me. In the end, I just have this feeling that this is what I am supposed to do with my life. While it hasn’t always been easy, I have loved it and have become such a better person for this. That’s what I got right now…





21 06 2009

If you are looking for another President update…it’s coming. Basically, I got done with the semester and that last thing I wanted to do was more research and writing. Now that I’m an intern, I don’t have much time for either. But…I’m not going to stop until I finish. It just may take a while. Lincoln is getting close to being done, however. I’m making little steps in that direction when I have time and feel like doing something productive in my off time.

I saw something this week trhat really upset me. We’ve been working with different groups down here in Galveston, but this past group was all CYF kids from Kansas. One of the girls had a devotional book, which on the surface appeared to be a really cool thing, but I looked closer at the cover, and it’s tagline was something about, “How to Fight Against the Pressures of Being a Teenager” or something else along those lines. It has these cool, hip looking kids standing as a group looking at these gross looking skeletons in the foreground of the cover. These skeletons had in their possession the typical things that pressure teenagers: alcohol, cigarettes, a syringe (presumably for drugs), and other things. But…there was one thing smack in the middle of this ensemble that was both impossible to miss and strategically placed. It was a book entited, “Sex Education”. That bothered me on so many levels, and I just felt terrible for the girl. I was so shocked to even see that on the cover. I really believe that a huge problem in our culture today is that people just don’t know enough about various topics, and a devotional book that is quite literally demonizing sex education is just continuing this major issue. If the best kind of decision is an educated one, doesn’t it follow that we should allow our grade school students to be educated on everything possible, without reservation? Why do people think knowledge is so evil? I think Galileo said it best:

“I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.”

Just because someone is educated completely on a topic such as sex, that doesn’t mean that they are going to believe that sex is ok or that they are going to go out and have sex immediately. If anything, the knowledge they could gain from really learning more about a subject could further their position on that subject. I wrote that out really fast, and I don’t have time to go deeper, but…yeah. I hope it makes sense.

There’s this big oil refinery in Texas City. And everytime I pass it, it just amazes me. This refinery is the 3rd largest in the country, and literally goes on for a good stretch of road. At night, you can see these huge towers over the plant that are just spewing out big flames. Supposedly, these towers just burn the gases that aren’t useable by the refinery. There’s one tower the bruns a brilliant orange hue, and another that burns a deep blue with flashes of orange and yellow. Against the pitch black sky, these two flames just shine, and capture my gaze everytime I drive past them. I can’t help but be captivated by those flames dancing in the night. I want to be like those flames. I want to make something so beautiful and shining from the “waste” of the world. I want to be as dependable as those flames are to me.

I thought about it…and, instead of thinking, “Why are things the way they are?”, I am going to start thinking, “Maybe there’s a reason things are that way.” I was thinking about someone, and that came to mind. It’s a subtle difference, but it was such a huge revelation to me today.





9 04 2009

I’m really pleased with the way Better Know A President is going. Yesterday alone there were 150 views on this blog. That doesn’t sound like much, but that’s the most I’ve ever had. I’m pretty sure it’s because of the Pres. info on this site. Visits have skyrocketed since I started doing that series. Coincidentally, the most visited post of that series (and very nearly the entire website) is Martin Van Buren. Go figure.

I’m really happy with the Cubs opening series against Houston. They didn’t get a sweep, but they looked great in every game they played. I’m really happy with Fukudome today. He really has improved from last year. He’s showing that he’s trying to get his hitting back together, and I think it’s showing on the field. After watching today’s game, I have hope that he will be the player we signed last year. I just get a good feeling from this team already. The pitching is great, the hitting is great, and everything is just great. They look like a real team. We’ll see what happens this weekend in Milwaukee.

Anyway, I wrote this last week sometime. I’d appreciate feedback. You know how it goes, I suppose.

Horrible Gift, Beautiful Curse

As a serf to their lord, I presented what I had been given
I tore it open myself without restraint
I ripped off the gift wrapping in chunks and tossed it aside
I broke open the box it was held in
I sliced through the bubble wrap that protected it
And there is was
A shimmering ruby that was open for all to see
It was a new statue in a public park
It was a glorious, unmarred monument of accomplishment
And it sat there
And over many years, vandals came
One after the other, with chisels and hammers and knives they marred my gift
Cracking and denting and taking pieces that fell off
a continuous striking
SLAM SLAM SLAM SLAM
each more brutal than the one before
It burned and it
Greed snd carelessness overflowed
Then, for no reason, it started dripping water
It oozed out, then flooded everything
And other things poured out
A lonely white duck, a house, the White City, a state and state of mind, childhood memories, good intentions and a helping hand, an old zoo, cartoon dinosaurs, Holden Caulfield, a bear cub, a museum and its carousel, the human Jesus, and soft thunderstorms
But Nothing else
Then, that storm grew and it rained fire from the sky
And all of those things that emerged were burned to nothing
They were dust, and then they were blow away effortlessly
They were made into other things that were no longer mine
And put into other jewels
I took what was left back to nowhere
And I put other things inside that jewel
And I made it shine again like it used to
I found a new box and new wrapping and put it inside and kept it away from everything
No more would the present I was given be ravaged.
Then, for no reason, it went back out
And the vandals came back, and cracked it, and did not care but for themselves
But they were stolen from before, too, and I couldn’t blame them.
We are all guilty of that crime, and will be guilty again
Then the gift given to me and I, too, became dust and the gift was made into something else for someone else
Just as necessary and just as worthless
I wanted to believe in something greater
I still do and always will
But like serf, I cannot escape and must accept what I have been given.
I cannot do anything to alter this beautiful curse





Better Know A President XV: James Buchanan

31 03 2009

JAMES BUCHANAN:

-Served from 1857-1861

-Elected from Pennsylvania

-Before serving as the President, he also served in the Pennsylvania House, the US House for 10 years, US Ambassador to Russia and then England, US Senator, and Sec. of State. He also served in the War of 1812 as a volunteer, although he was wholly against the war.

-During his time as Sec. of State, he established the Oregon Treaty between Britain and the US, which defined the boundaries between American and Canadian land. Prior to this time, both British and Americans claimed ownership of the area around Puget Sound (which includes modern day Seattle and Tacoma). He also was a major supporting author in the Ostend Manifesto (previous mentioned under Pres. Franklin Pierce) while serving as Ambassador to the United Kingdom. (This makes me wonder why the Democrats nominated him over other politicians with less suspect pasts)

-Buchanan is the only President to have remained a single all through his life. He was once engaged to a woman, Ann Coleman, who was the daughter of a major head of an iron business in Pennsylvania. He never took the engagement seriously, and shortly after Ann broke off the engagement, she died. The doctor who was caring for her said that she was “hysterical”, and probably had died from an overdose of laudanum. Buchanan was devastated and vowed never to seek another wife. He was suspected of being a homosexual, however, as he lived with William Rufus King (VP under Pierce) for a number of years while in Washington.

-Buchanan was nominated for the Presidency by the Democrats for the 1856 Presidential election. They did this primarily because slavery had become such a dominating issue in politics, and Buchanan was away in England while the infamous Kansas-Nebraska act was enacted. In the election, he competed against the Republican Party’s first candidate (the Whig Party was dissolved, after slavery split the party) John C. Fremont, and the Know-Nothing candidate, former Pres. Millard Fillmore. Because the former Whig base was divided between the two new parties, and because Buchanan was pro-slavery, he won the election. The entire south supported Buchanan, which was enough in itself to win him the election. It’s important to note, when looking at Buchanan’s presidency, that while he accepted the nomination, he did not want to be President.

-During his Presidency, he strived for citizens to accept the Supreme Court’s authority over issues like slavery. He was also President during many infamous disasters, including the Dred Scott decision (which stated that Congress could not force new territories to outlaw slavery) Bleeding Kansas (Buchanan tried to get Kansas admitted as a slave state, through his efforts in supporting the Lecompton Constitution, which limited the rights of non-slave holders), the Panic of 1857 (a major economic depression), and the Utah War (A literal war between the state of Utah and the US. Brigham Young revolted against the government, after many people in Utah were tired of anti-Mormon sympathies in Congress and the White House. Buchanan himself slammed polygamy and the Mormons during his campaign). All of these incidents destroyed people’s support of Buchanan. He stated in his inaugural address that he would not seek reelection, but even if he had tried it would have been highly unlikely he would have even been re-nominated.

-By the time he was nearing the end of his Presidency, he was being investigated by a committee to see if he had done anything which would be grounds for impeachment.

-The government was all but halted after Republicans saw a majority in the House after the elections in 1860. The Southern Democrats could not get anything passed, which angered them immensely. The Democrats were completely divided after their convention in 1860. Southern Dems left, and instead nominated their own man for president, current VP under Buchanan John Breckenridge. By this time, many southern states were discussing secession or had already seceded from the Union, which Buchanan did nothing about. He only recognized that they could not be legally stopped.

-Both Buchanan and his predecessor Pierce are consistently ranked among the worst Presidents in history, beause of their failure to address the coming Civil War adequately.

JAMES BUCHANAN ANECDOTES:

When President James Polk appointed James Buchanan to serve as secretary of state in 1845, ex-President Andrew Jackson was greatly perturbed. “But, you yourself appointed him minister to Russia in your first term,” Polk reminded him. “Yes, I did,” Jackson admitted. “It was as far as I could send him out of my sight, and where he could do the least harm. I would have sent him to the North Pole if we had kept a minister there!”

When some women visited the White House once, they said to Buchanan, “We have looked all through this house-it is very elegant and well kept; but we have noticed one deficiency. That you have no lady of the house.” To which Buchanan responded, “That, madam, is my misfortune, not my fault.”

JAMES BUCHANAN QUOTES:

I like the noise of democracy.

What is right and what is practicable are two different things.

(To Pres. Lincoln): If you are as happy in entering the White House as I shall feel on returning to Wheatland, you are a happy man indeed.

The test of leadership is not to put greatness into humanity, but to elicit it, for the greatness is already there.






Better Know A President XIV: Franklin Pierce

23 03 2009

Two things:

In order to be academically correct, I want to give credit where credit is due. For many of my Presidential Anecdotes, I have used Paul Boller’s book Presidential Anecdotes. It has been incredibly useful to me, and really enjoyable. I couldn’t be doing this series without that book. Anecdotes bring about a real sense of humanity in a person and are essential to really study someone in my opinion.

I also want to acknowledge that there has been an exponential increase in traffic to my blog because of my Better Know A President series. Google is directing people my way and I really appreciate it.

And, many thanks to you people who have been reading this. I’m not doing it to impress anyone or anything like that, but it’s nice to know people appreciate my current hobby.

Onto number 14…

FRANKLIN PIERCE

-Served from 1853-1857

-Elected from New Hampshire

-Prior to the Presidency, he was a US Representative and Senator from New Hampshire. Pierce was only 27 when elected to the House, and was by far the youngest man while serving. He also ran a very profitable private law firm in that state. He seemed destined for politics, as his father served two terms as Governor of New Hampshire.

-He was close friends of Nathaniel Hawthorne and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, after meeting them both while attending Bowdoin College.

-Pierce had three children in his lifetime. The first, Franklin Pierce Jr. died days after his birth. While serving as a Senator, his second child Frank Robert died of Typhus. His wife used his death as leverage to get Pierce to leave politics and return home. His wife never like politics, and hated that her husband was serving in the Senate. Finally, his third child Benjamin died in a train accident only two months before Franklin’s inauguration. Franklin and his wife both witnessed the accident. His wife, Jane, was incredibly pious, and saw the incident as a sign that Pierce should not become President. During his Presidency, Jane spent two whole years confined to the living quarters of the White House. During this time, she wrote letters to the deceased son, and suffered deep depression. She rarely performed any social obligations.

-In 1847, a full 10 years after being elected to the House, and 5 years after leaving the Senate, Pierce enlisted in the army to serve in the Mexican-American War. He was quickly promoted to the rank of Colonel. He suffered a major wound to his leg when he fell off his horse in the Battle of Contreras. His pain became so great that he couldn’t fight in later battles.

-When the election of 1852 was started, Pierce was never mentioned seriously as a candidate. However, like James Polk before him, he was chosen as a compromise candidate after 35 ballots without a 2/3rd’s majority. He was chosen mainly because he was a solid Democratic supporter, he was quiet on his slavery views, and he was generally popular among everyone. The campaign slogan of that year was “We Polked you in 1844; we shall Pierce you in 1852!”.

-Pierce won the election handedly. He lost only 4 states. It wasn’t so much that Pierce ran a great campaign as it was that his Whig competitor, General Winfield Scott ran a bad one. He never really separated himself from Pierce, except that he was strongly against slavery. Of course, that killed any chance he might have had in the southern states.

-In his inauguration, he did not swear over the Bible. He affirmed his oath over a law book. He also gave his Inaugural speech from memory.

-While he tried to focus on foreign policy, he made many blunders. He upset Great Britain and Spain when he tried to get them to let go of their holding in Central America, the latter nation being involved in the infamous Ostend Manifesto. The O.M. was an attempt by Pierce to get Spain to sell Cuba to the US for 120 Million or go to war. They claimed that Cuba was rightfully America’s and that war was justified if they would not sell it. The document was eventually made public. The North was upsert because they saw it as a Southern attempt to continue slavery. Pierce let the matter of Cuba go after this. To his credit, he made the Gadsden Purchase from Mexico for 10 million. This small part of land that was bought from Mexico proved to be invaluable for railroad expansion.

-His biggest gaffe, however, was the Kansas-Nebraska Act. Slavery was still a major issue at the time, but this act repealed the Missouri Compromise, which at the time was a barrier to the expansion of slavery. With the Compromise out of the way, slavery expansion became a real possibilty. It led to Bleeding Kansas, an actual war between the state of Kansas and Missouri, and it was a major elevation in the conflict between the North and South.

-His failures during his presidency made the Democrats refuse to nominate him in 1856. He grew even more unpopular when he supported the South in the Civil War, and he placed the blame on Lincoln for the Civil War. He was even called the “archtraitor” by Harriet Beecher Stowe. Even his wife didn’t support him. She still blamed him for the death of their third son.

FRANKLIN PIERCE ANECDOTES:

He claimed that after he left the Presidency that “there’s nothing left to do but get drunk”.

Pierce was hunted down after Lincoln’s death, because he didn’t publicly condemn the act. He would later say that it wasn’t necessary “to show my devotion for the Stars and Stripes by any special exhibition upon the demand of any man or body of men…” After this, the crowd left.

FRANKLIN PIERCE QUOTES:

A Republic without parties is a complete anomaly. The histories of all popular governments show absurd is the idea of their attempting to exist without parties.

The dangers of a concentration of all power in the general government of a confederacy so vast as ours are too obvious to be disregarded.

Frequently the more trifling the subject, the more animated and protracted the discussion.