President Franklin Pierce entered the White House in 1853 in the wake of the most extraordinary tragedies. Just weeks after his election the President-elect’s family had been traveling by train when their car derailed, and Pierce’s 12-year-old son was decapitated in the accident. Jane Pierce who for reasons of that accident, went into seclusion during her time as First Lady, and may very well have suffered an emotional breakdown. Pierce himself suffered from depression and it likely affected his performance as President. After his one term in office Pierce became a lightning rod and was at risk of arrest by the Lincoln administration for both his criticism of the manner in which the Civil War was being conducted and the President's suspension of habeas corpus. In this episode, Author Garry Boulard will be joined in conversation with Sheldon Stone, member of the National Council on White House History and will share more about the challenging and complex legacy of President Pierce.
History Happy Hour is a biweekly virtual program hosted by the White House Historical Association. Join us as experts weigh in on a variety of historical topics, share their insights, answer audience questions, and enjoy presidential-inspired libations.
Did you know members of the Association have access to all previous History Happy Hour episodes? Become a member here.