Home » Opinion » Editorials
Bad judgment: On honoring Franklin Pierce
Winning the presidency certainly is a notable accomplishment. But it is what one does with that office that determines whether honors and glory are later justified.
Franklin Pierce started his political career promisingly enough. He developed an affection for John Locke and Andrew Jackson and was bold enough to volunteer for military service in the Mexican War (during which he twice fainted after being injured by his own horse).
Alas, Pierce was no Jackson or James K. Polk. Elected to the U.S. Senate, he resigned after the Whigs won a majority. Chosen as the Democratic nominee for President by party stalwarts in the proverbial "smoke-filled room," he won the White House on the popularity of the party Andrew Jackson had built. Once in office, he quickly unraveled Jackson's legacy.
Jackson was the most fervent of unionists. Though a Tennessean and a slave owner, he despised the hare-brained doctrines of secession and nullification and saved the Republic in the 1830s by making clear that he was willing to go to war to preserve it. Pierce fell in with the wrong factions in the Democratic Party and became both tool and spokesman for noxious "states' rights" arguments Jackson found appalling. His mishandling of the slavery question and national expansion reignited dormant embers, the flames of which later engulfed the nation.
Noting Pierce's role as a willing pawn of slavery interests, the House Executive Departments and Administration Committee has voted - unanimously - against HB 576, saying it "was unwilling to perpetually honor such a person." Those words might have been more biting had the authors encountered Pierce's criticism of Abraham Lincoln, made July 4, 1863, the day after Gettysburg: "How futile are all our efforts to maintain the Union by force of arms."
The man who would have dismantled the Union to avoid war has a statue and portrait at the State House and a highway named after him. Let the state give him no further honors.
READER COMMENTS: 0
- Amnesty? Garcia is against it - 84
- Newt's silence: Hemingway's missing endorsement - 7
- Who scares Shaheen? She wants to stop Scott Brown - 2
- Taxpayer rights: Left, right should restore them - 8
- Hooksett highs: A good multiple choice test - 1
- Where is Shaheen? Hiding from you - 76
- Portman's good point: A leadership deficit all around - 3
- Wheeler in Dist. 5: A GOP fighter for the little guy - 4
- GOP for legal pot? Hemignway's high help - 12
READER COMMENTS: 0
- Know the Law: Know your rights when dealing with debt collectors - 0
- Ask SCORE: Getting help with routine chores allows owners to focus on critical issues - 0
- Another View - Richard Ober: We have to act now to stop the decline in NH's future prospects - 0
- Another View: Gordon Humphrey -- Rubens will bring principled, courageous leadership to Senate - 0
- Firefly dress could set the world on fire - 0
- As school year starts, talk of new testing begins in Manchester - 0
- Wildcats focus on positives following opening loss - 0
- NHIAA Field Hockey Preview: Exeter, Pinkerton girls thinking big - 0
- Frank Jones' foray into ale-making in Portsmouth is a success - 0
Sherborne takes Manchester city golf crown
Two killed in North Hampton plane crash
DWI License Revocations
The JV team: Obama's unbelievable admission
Another View: Gordon Humphrey -- Rubens will bring principled, courageous leadership to Senate
'Our job is to rebuild that middle class'
Derry councilors seek input on land use tax