Franklin Pierce was born on November 23, 1804, in Hillsborough
, New Hampshire. His father was Benjamin Pierce, a general in the American Revolution
and governor of New Hampshire. He graduated from Bowdoin College
in 1824 and became a lawyer in 1827. He served successively in the New Hampshire legislature, the United States House of Representatives
and the United States Senate
. He enlisted in the Mexican American War
and became brigadier general.
It took 49 ballots for the Democrats to nominate Pierce in 1852, but he decisively defeated General Winfield Scott, the Whig Party nominee and Pierce's former commander. His political leanings while in office were towards the pro-slavery Southerners and he supported the controversial Kansas-Nebraska Act. The Democrats refused to renominate him in 1856 and he spent most of his remaining years in Concord, New Hampshire, where he died on October 8, 1869.