Saturday, November 04, 2006

Franklin Pierce State of the Union Addresses

Franklin Pierce was the 14th President of the United States of America. Although not well regarded today, he was popular until his presidency. He was a veteran of the Mexican War and his friend Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote a popular campaign biography of him titled The Life of Franklin Pierce.

Pierce is considered a weak president for two reasons. To begin, he was a notorious drunk. After losing the Democratic nomination in 1856, he reportedly quipped "there's nothing left to do but get drunk." He reportedly did this on many occasions and even ran over a woman with his horse drawn wagon. There were no drunk driving laws at the time...

Pierce also failed to act in a meaningful way that could have headed off the American Civil War. And during the war, the ex-president from New Hampshire actually was sympathetic to the southern separatist cause...

He wrote four State of the Union addresses. At the time, the addresses were titled the President's Annual Message. The sectional tension in these messages are quite evident. Links to the text are provided below:

PRESIDENT FRANKLIN PIERCE STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS 1853

PRESIDENT FRANKLIN PIERCE STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS 1854

PRESIDENT FRANKLIN PIERCE STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS 1855

PRESIDENT FRANKLIN PIERCE STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS 1856

2 comments:

Alexandra P said...

I presume that the date is meant to be 1885, not 185? Since that would mean a fairly radical re-writing of American history! =]

The whole thing about the American Civil War fascinates me, as an Australian. The only 'fighting' on our soil since whites arrived was basically at the Eureka Stockade - it lasted 15 minutes, maybe 20 people died. And that was miners arguing about things like being allowed to vote! as well as not having to pay exorbitant licences. Anyway, I have sometimes wondered if this i one of the reasons for the difference manifestations of nationalism that you often see between Aussies and Americans. An interesting thing to think about, anyway!

Miland said...

"I presume that the date is meant to be 1885, not 185?"

Actually, I meant 1856. Thanks for the comment. I have corrected the date.

If Australia is ever invaded, or has a major civil war, if may lead to a stronger sense of nationalism. For you sake, I hope Aussies always live in boring times and can live in peace.