During the Civil War, Franklin Pierce was a fierce critic of Abraham Lincoln. When Union soldiers raided Jefferson Davis’ home in 1863, they found letters from Pierce – bemoaning the “madness of abolitionism” and an “unnecessary war.” Harriet Beecher Stowe labeled him “the archtraitor.”
His reputation never recovered. Today, Pierce ranks as one of America’s worst presidents.
After the death of his wife and his best friend Hawthorne, Pierce fell back to heavy drinking. He died in 1869.
Learn More: Buy Michael F. Holt’s “Franklin Pierce”
As reward for helping Pierce win the Presidency, Nathaniel Hawthorne was appointed Consul to Liverpool. He spent the rest of the 1850’s in England and Italy.
When he died in 1864, only Pierce was at his deathbed.
Hawthorne ranks as one of America’s most revered authors. He is considered the father of the American Novel.
Learn More: Read Peter Wallner’s “Revealing Relationships”
During the War, William Pitt Fessenden was Lincoln’s second Treasury Secretary.
When South Carolina seceded, the Charleston Mercury called him “one of most dangerous men in the country.”
He later co-chaired the Joint Committee on Reconstruction, and became more moderate with age.
Fessenden died in 1869. His role in antebellum politics is often passed over by historians.
After running for President, John P. Hale returned to the Senate in 1855.
In 1865, Lincoln appointed him Minister to Spain.
Hale’s daughter, Lucy Hale, was John Wilkes Booth’s girlfriend. She gave booth a ticket to Lincoln’s second inauguration. Her photo was found on Booth’s body after he was captured and killed.
His statue stands today in front of the New Hampshire state capitol, steps away from Franklin Pierce.
Hale died in 1873. He and Pierce never reconciled.
- Special Thanks
- Photo Credits
George J. Mitchell Department
Of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College
Library Of Congress
New Hampshire Historical Society
U.S. Senate Collections