No elf stories today, or good magic from the Universe. It isn’t flying.
Today is mundanely, maybe even sadly, Franklin Pierce’s Birthday. November 23, in the year 1804, a very long time ago. I bet he was a cranky baby.
I mean. He was a terrible President. One of the worst. He supported slavery, and wanted to expand it to Kansas and Nebraska. He didn’t do much else which was noteworthy. This doesn’t get any better. Like I mentioned at the top, no magic dust particles to be found in the air today.
Pierce served as a Senator and Representative from New Hampshire. And somehow, he got elected as the 14th President of our good United States (1853–1857).
His term was the one right before the Civil War. And it was his complete incompetence which probably hastened the start of that terrible war. There were a lot of national tensions over this topic of slavery. He couldn’t calm it. In fact, he probably goaded people on. Adding fuel to the fire.
It sounds strangely familiar to me.
Any way, he was genial and well-spoken. Certain people really liked him, including Nathaniel Hawthorne. Hawthorne even wrote a glowing biography about him, entitled “The Life of Franklin Pierce.” Catchy, don’t you think? I’ve never read it, and I probably won’t. Biographies, like Documentaries, can be very slanted to promote the “views” of the authors. I wish people would remember this, when they read and watch. So yes, Hawthorn and he were friends, and good old Nate wrote favorable words.
Anyway. Pierce was a northern, pro-slavery Democrat who really thought the abolitionist movement was bad. A threat, somehow, to the nation. So, he mucked things around, and before you knew it, we had a Civil War on our hands, which killed 620,000 Americans.
I could go on about his horrible actions as President. Google any “U.S. President Rankings” and you will see him right at the bottom with Donald Trump, James Buchanan, and Andrew Jackson.
I mostly feel sorry for his wife. In 1834, Pierce married Jane Means Appleton. Jane was shy. She was also extremely religious, and pro-temperance. She encouraged Pierce to abstain from alcohol. I’m not sure if he did or not, but some of his decisions seemed a little drunk to me.
Back to Jane. She was frail, gaunt. And she was always ill. She had tuberculosis. And, psychological ailments. Mostly she hated politics and she did not like Washington, D.C. one little bit. This was friction between the two.
The worst part is, they had three sons, all of whom died in childhood. Little Franky Jr., died in infancy. Then they had Frank Robert, and he died at the age of four from epidemic typhus. They gave up the Frank name. The next boy was Benjamin, and he died at the age of 11 in a train accident.
And that is the history wrap. Pierce was a terrible President, and he had a pretty miserable life with having lost three kids. And a wife who couldn’t really stand him. Probably for good reason.
There might be a shortage on magic, as I think the planets are all lining up in some tremendously negative way, with ionic disturbances right down to Frodo’s toes. So tomorrow, maybe, another wretched and dismal story. Oh. Stayed tuned.
“You cannot protect yourself from sadness without protecting yourself from happiness.”
― Jonathan Safran Foer
“There are two types of people in the world: those who prefer to be sad among others, and those who prefer to be sad alone.”
― Nicole Krauss, The History of Love
“Seeing the glass as half empty is more positive than seeing it as half full. Through such a lens the only choice is to pour more. That is righteous pessimism.”
― Criss Jami, Killosophy