- Sean R. Busick
Franklin Pierce was born in Hillsborough, New Hampshire, to Benjamin and Anna Kendrick Pierce; his father, Benjamin, fought in the American Revolution and later served as the governor of New Hampshire. Before entering politics, Pierce attended Bowdoin College, then studied law. In 1834 he married Jane Means Appleton. Two months before taking office as president in 1852, Pierce, with his wife, would witness the death of their eleven-year-old son in a train accident; their other two children also died in childhood.
Pierce entered politics early in life. In 1829, at the age of twenty-four, he was elected to the New Hampshire state legislature, serving as the speaker of the house in 1832 and 1833. In 1833 he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he served there until 1837, when he took a seat in the Senate. In 1842 Pierce resigned ...
A version of this article originally appeared in The Encyclopedia of African American History, 1619–1895.