Not many people know much about President Franklin Pierce, but he was born on this day in 1804, so you better believe we're gonna do a trivia quiz about him. Read on, and see how much you know about our nation's 14th president...
What Was Pierce's Relationship to the Man He Defeated in the 1852 Election? With the 1852 election fast approaching, the Democratic Party had a problem: They couldn't nominate anyone. Every viable candidate received too much opposition. Eventually, they realized what they needed: Someone no one had heard of and thus someone nobody could object to. And they also realized they needed someone who disagreed with his region on the issue of slavery. i.e. an anti-slavery southerner could carry the south on account of his geographical origins and the north on account of his political views. So they took Pierce, a pro-slavery northerner no one had heard of. Throw in the fact that he was attractive and a war veteran, and Pierce became the perfect choice. The man he ran against was himself a war veteran: General Winfield Scott who received the Whig nomination. And he and Pierce even knew each other. Scott had been Pierce's commanding officer.
When Taking His Presidential Oath, Pierce Did Not Swear on the Bible. Instead, He Did What? According to the Constitution, a president can either swear their oath or affirm it. While almost every president has sworn their oath on a bible, Pierce decided instead to affirm. There is debate over why he did this, but most believe his actions were tied to the death of his 11-year-old son a couple months prior, with some believing it was because Pierce felt his son's death was a punishment for his sins and others believing the tragedy left Pierce questioning his faith.
Fill in the Blank: Pierce is the Only Elected Sitting President to Not be _________ by His Own Party in His Bid for Re-election? If you don't really remember Franklin Pierce's presidency, you can be forgiven. The guy was pretty much a failure and wildly unpopular. In fact, he was so unpopular that in 1856, he became the only elected sitting president to not be nominated by his party in the next election (four other presidents have also had this notorious distinction, but they all assumed the office when the president before them died, and as such, none were elected president in the first place). Said Jayme Simoes, a man from a PR firm that was trying to build interest in the 14th president on the 200th anniversary of his birth, "By the time he left office in 1857, Pierce couldn't have been elected dogcatcher."
What Did Pierce Reportedly Say After Learning He Would Not Be Nominated? Pierce had a significant alcohol problem, drinking heavily throughout his presidency. So it's no surprise that when Pierce lost the nomination, he wanted to imbibe. In fact, many have quoted Pierce as subsequently saying, "There is nothing left to do but get drunk." It's the kind of line that you think would get him put on a poster that college kids put up in their dorm rooms across the country. At the very least, then people might actually remember the guy.