DEAD: Franklin Pierce

DEAD: ON THIS DATE

Franklin Pierce (aged 64)
14th President of the United States

Franklin Pierce (November 23, 1804 – October 8, 1869) was the 14th President of the United States(1853–1857), a northern Democrat who saw the abolitionist movement as a fundamental threat to the unity of the nation. He alienated anti-slavery groups by championing and signing the Kansas–Nebraska Act and enforcing the Fugitive Slave Act; yet he failed to stem conflict between North and South, setting the stage for Southern secession and the American Civil War.

DEATH: Pierce’s health began to decline again in mid-1869; he resumed heavy drinking despite his deteriorating physical condition. He returned to Concord that September, suffering from severe cirrhosis of the liver, knowing he would not recover. A caretaker was hired; none of his family members were present in his final days. He died at 4:35 am on October 8. President Grant, who later defended Pierce’s service in the Mexican War, declared a day of national mourning. Newspapers across the country carried lengthy front-page stories examining Pierce’s colorful and controversial career. Pierce was interred next to his wife and two of his sons in the Minot enclosure at Concord’s Old North Cemetery.

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