The Byronic President: Franklin Pierce

  • Philip Abbott
Part of the The Evolving American Presidency Series book series (EAP)


If the tipping point in Fillmore’s badness is his support of the Compromise of 1850 and its enforcement, Pierce’s is his support of the Kansas-Nebraska Act and its implementation.


Democratic Party Party Leader Free Soil Popular Sovereignty Slippery Slope Argument 
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  1. 1.
    Allan Nevins, Ordeal of the Union (New York: Scribner’s Sons, 1947), vol. II, pp. 41–42.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Stephen John Hartnett, “Franklin Pierce and the Exuberant Hauteur of an Age of Innocence,” in Martin J. Medhurst, ed., Before the Rhetorical Presidency (College Station, TX: Texas A&M Press, 2008), pp. 113, 115.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    Roy Franklin Nichols, Franklin Pierce: Young Hickory of Granite Hill (Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1958), p. 209.Google Scholar
  4. 8.
    Charles B. Strozier, Lincoln’s Quest for Union (New York: Basic Books, 1982). For a darker interpretation, see, George B. Forgie, Patricide and the House Divided (New York: W. W. Norton, 1979). Forgie argues that Lincoln’s career and political thought were the result of a politically induced Oedipal complex. His psychologically ambivalent relationship with the founding fathers led to the pursuit and “symbolic murder” of Douglas.Google Scholar
  5. 9.
    See, Anne Norton, The Republic of Signs (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993).Google Scholar
  6. 11.
    Franklin Pierce, “Inaugural Address,” in Inaugural Addresses of the Presidents of the United States (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1965), pp. 104, 108.Google Scholar
  7. 12.
    Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Life of Franklin Pierce (1852) (New York: Garnet Press, 2010).Google Scholar
  8. 16.
    Nichols, Franklin Pierce, pp. 540–41; Larry Gara, The Presidency of Franklin Pierce (Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 1991), pp. 44–48.Google Scholar
  9. 19.
    Robert W. Johannsen, Stephen A. Douglas (New York: Oxford University Press, 1973), p. 415.Google Scholar
  10. 21.
    Michael F. Holt, The Fate of Their Country: Politicians, Slavery Extension, and the Coming of the Civil War (New York: Hill and Wang, 1974), pp. 109–10.Google Scholar

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© Philip Abbott 2013

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  • Philip Abbott

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