Exploring History's Greatest Adventures throughout time!

blog image

Franklin Pierce: The President Who Tried to Keep the Peace

October 29, 20235 min read

Franklin Pierce was the 14th President of the United States, serving from 1853 to 1857. Even though he might not be as famous as some other presidents, his story is still fascinating and full of fun facts!

Franklin Pierce was born on November 23, 1804, in Hillsborough, New Hampshire where his father later became the Governor. As a kid, Franklin was really good at school, and his teachers saw great potential in him. But did you know that he was also a very talented athlete? He loved playing sports, especially baseball. He was a star pitcher, and this love for the game stayed with him throughout his life.

Fun Fact 1: Franklin Pierce declared Thanksgiving an official holiday in 1854!

Before he was President

As Franklin grew up, he decided to become a lawyer. He studied hard and eventually became a successful attorney. He was known for his persuasive skills and became well-respected in his community. His passion for the law would later play a significant role in his political career.

One of the most exciting parts of Franklin Pierce's life was his involvement in the Mexican-American War. He joined the army and became a brigadier general, leading a group of brave soldiers. During the war, he showed great leadership and courage. Many people admired him for his dedication to his country.

Fun Fact 2: Franklin Pierce's nickname was the "Young Hickory of the Granite Hills." It was a nod to his support for former President Andrew Jackson, who was known as "Old Hickory."

Franklin Pierce served in the U.S. Senate. One of the big issues during his time in the Senate was the Compromise of 1850, a set of laws that dealt with the issue of slavery in new territories. This was a challenging time for the country, as people from different states had very different opinions about slavery.

Franklin Pierce thought the abolitionist movement would break the nation apart. Instead he supported the compromise to try to keep peace between the North and the South. He supported fugitive slave laws to return enslaved people who ran away to their masters. He also signed the Kansas–Nebraska Act, which split the big Nebraska Territory into two parts: Nebraska and Kansas. People in each part would vote to decide if they wanted slavery. Instead of keeping the country together, it actually brought the nation a step closer to civil war. It also made Pierce unpopular in the northern states even though he was from New Hampshire.

Fun Fact 3: Franklin Pierce was the youngest president in U.S. history when he took office at the age of 48. He didn’t hold the record long. Six other presidents since then were younger.

Becoming President

In 1852, Franklin Pierce became the Democratic Party's nominee for president. He was a bit of a surprise candidate, but his charm and likeable personality won people over. In the election, he defeated his opponents and became the 14th President of the United States.

As president, Franklin Pierce faced some tough challenges, especially concerning the issue of slavery. The country was deeply divided, and he tried to find solutions to keep everyone happy. But it wasn't easy, and his presidency is often remembered for its difficulties.

Fun Fact 4: Franklin Pierce was the first president to "affirm" rather than "swear" the presidential oath of office, using a law book instead of a Bible.

Franklin Pierce's time as president was marked by personal tragedies. During his presidency, he and his wife Jane lost all three of their children to illness. This was a heart-wrenching experience for the Pierces, and it deeply affected their time in the White House.

After his presidency, Franklin Pierce retired from politics and returned to New Hampshire. He enjoyed a quieter life and spent time with his family and friends. He was also known for his love of animals and often had many pets, including dogs and birds.

Fun Fact 5: Franklin Pierce was the first president to have a Christmas tree in the White House.


Franklin Pierce passed away on October 8, 1869, at the age of 64. Even though his presidency had its challenges, he is still an important part of American history. His efforts to keep the country together during a difficult time were honorable, and he should be remembered for his dedication to his country.

Fun Fact 6: Franklin Pierce has a college named after him in New Hampshire, Franklin Pierce University!

So, there you have it! Franklin Pierce was the 14th President of the United States, and he lived a fascinating life filled with ups and downs. He was a talented athlete, a great lawyer, and a dedicated public servant. Even though he's not the most famous president in history, his story is still worth knowing. Remember, in the pages of history, you can find many interesting stories, and Franklin Pierce's is definitely one of them!

Recommended Reading

Freewater by Amina Luqman-Dawson


Freewater book cover

Under the cover of night, twelve-year-old Homer flees Southerland Plantation with his little sister Ada, unwillingly leaving their beloved mother behind. Much as he adores her and fears for her life, Homer knows there's no turning back, not with the overseer on their trail. Through tangled vines, secret doorways, and over a sky bridge, the two find a secret community called Freewater, deep in the swamp. (Ages 9 to 12)


Dandelions by Eve Bunting

Dandelions book cover

Eager to start a new life in a new land, Zoe and her family journey west to the Nebraska Territory in the 1800s. When Zoe and her family arrive at their claim, nothing distinguishes it from the miles and miles of surrounding prairie. Even after they build their soddie, the home can't be seen from any distance. Zoe has never seen Papa so happy or Mama so sad. But when she takes a trip to the small prairie town with Papa, Zoe sees something that might make a difference to their new soddie, and to Mama's life, too. (48 pages for Ages 4 – 7)


Franklin Pierce Word Search Activity

Download the puzzle for free from our Free Resources Library.


Franklin Pierce Word Search Puzzle

Find more U.S. Presidents articles here.

Visit us at:

Historic Books for Kids website logo

U.S. presidentsFranklin PierceKansas-Nebraska Act
Back to Blog

© 2023. Historic Books for Kids - All Rights Reserved

Reading Pennsylvania, USA