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Franklin Pierce: The American Presidents Series: The 14th President, 1853-1857

Franklin Pierce: The American Presidents Series: The 14th President, 1853-1857

(Book #14 in the American Presidents series)

$34.00

Book Overview: Franklin Pierce: The American Presidents Series: The 14th President, 1853-1857

The genial but troubled New Englander whose single-minded partisan loyalties inflamed the nation's simmering battle over slavery: Franklin Pierce.

Charming and handsome, Franklin Pierce of New Hampshire was drafted to break the deadlock of the 1852 Democratic convention. Though he seized the White House in a landslide against the imploding Whig Party, he proved a dismal failure in office.

Michael F. Holt, a leading historian of nineteenth-century partisan politics, argues that in the wake of the Whig collapse, Pierce was consumed by an obsessive drive to unify his splintering party rather than the roiling country. He soon began to overreach. Word leaked that Pierce wanted Spain to sell the slave-owning island of Cuba to the United States, rousing sectional divisions. Then he supported repeal of the Missouri Compromise, which limited the expansion of slavery in the west. Violence broke out, and Bleeding Kansas spurred the formation of the Republican Party. By the end of his term, Pierce's beloved party had ruptured, and he lost the nomination to James Buchanan.

In this incisive account, Holt shows how a flawed leader, so dedicated to his party and ill-suited for the presidency, hastened the approach of the Civil War.

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"Thought-provoking... Holt gives Pierce his due as a politician serving in fractious times and as a man pulling against the swells of a difficult life... a valuable book." --Concord Monitor

"Professor Holt brings to his task his considerable knowledge of the ins and outs of party politics in the 1850's. This is the book's greatest strength... Holt's book presents a more incisive and more realistic understanding of [Pierce's] fateful presidency." -- Civil War Book Review, Louisiana State University Library's Special Collections

"Holt writes well, delivering a lively, opinionated account of a president who served in turbulent times and did not improve matters. This is an admirable addition to the already admirable American Presidents series." -- Publishers Weekly

"Pierce deserves his low ranking by historians, but not, Holt argues, because he was a bad man or politician... Another excellent American Presidents series volume." -- Booklist

Michael F. Holt is a celebrated historian and scholar primarily known for his impactful works on American political history. Renowned for his meticulous research and compelling narratives, his robust understanding of American politics has rendered him as an authority on the subject. Holt served as a Langbourne M. Williams Professor of American History at the University of Virginia, where his contributions were instrumental in establishing the institution's reputation in the field of political history. Holt’s body of work encompasses an extensive exploration of American political climate from the early nineteenth to early twentieth century. His notable publications include "The Rise and Fall of the American Whig Party" and "The Fate of their Country", widely lauded for their groundbreaking portrayal of political ideologies. Honored with numerous accolades for his works, Holt's brilliance in unraveling the complexities of American political history and presenting them in a detailed yet digestible manner has established his reputation in academia. His powerful elucidations continue to guide students, scholars, and enthusiasts of political history.

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