Franklin Pierce (b. November 23, 1804 – d. October 8, 1869) was the 14th President of the United States. He served from 1853 until 1857. During his term, the slavery question popped again. He responded with the infamous Kansas and Nebraska Act of 1854, which provoked violent response in many parts of the country, particularly in Kansas, where so-called "border ruffians" crossed the border illegally from Missouri and formed a pro-slavery legislature. This led to a series of violent incidents that became known as "Bleeding Kansas".
Pierce was a Northern Democrat, and believed the abolitionist movement would damage the already-fragile structure of the Union, which had already deteriorated in the aftermath of the Fugitive Slave Act, a highly controversial section of the Compromise of 1850, that allowed slave owners to reclaim escaped slaves and have them returned to them from anywhere in the territory of the United States of America. Designed as a concession in exchange for the slave trade being banned in the District of Columbia and California being admitted to the Union as a free state, the provision was quickly denounced by abolitionist newspapers, particularly a section in which slave owners could deputize citizens on the spot to help catch runaway slaves. In addition to the Kansas and Nebraska Act, many of his Cabinet members lost their reputations following a widely publicized document known as the "Ostend Manifesto", which called for the annexation of the island of Cuba, then a Spanish colony. The public overwhelmingly disapproved of this idea, and it damaged Pierce's position even further. He was not chosen in 1856, with the party instead turning to James Buchanan, who won the election of that year.
Pierce was born in Hillsborough, New Hampshire, and had a spouse, Jane Appleton.