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The Expatriation of Franklin Pierce: The Story of a President and the Civil War

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Considered a failure upon leaving the White House in 1857 and thought to be on his way to a well-deserved obscurity, Franklin Pierce during the Civil War emerged as a major spokesman for that era's Peace Democrats, opposed to President Lincoln's suspension of the writ of habeas corpus and in defense of civil liberties. A Northerner with many close Southern friends, includi Considered a failure upon leaving the White House in 1857 and thought to be on his way to a well-deserved obscurity, Franklin Pierce during the Civil War emerged as a major spokesman for that era's Peace Democrats, opposed to President Lincoln's suspension of the writ of habeas corpus and in defense of civil liberties. A Northerner with many close Southern friends, including Jefferson Davis the president of the Confederacy and his wife, Varina Davis, Pierce was also thought to be a traitor because of such ties and was at one point nearly arrested for suspected seditious behavior.


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Considered a failure upon leaving the White House in 1857 and thought to be on his way to a well-deserved obscurity, Franklin Pierce during the Civil War emerged as a major spokesman for that era's Peace Democrats, opposed to President Lincoln's suspension of the writ of habeas corpus and in defense of civil liberties. A Northerner with many close Southern friends, includi Considered a failure upon leaving the White House in 1857 and thought to be on his way to a well-deserved obscurity, Franklin Pierce during the Civil War emerged as a major spokesman for that era's Peace Democrats, opposed to President Lincoln's suspension of the writ of habeas corpus and in defense of civil liberties. A Northerner with many close Southern friends, including Jefferson Davis the president of the Confederacy and his wife, Varina Davis, Pierce was also thought to be a traitor because of such ties and was at one point nearly arrested for suspected seditious behavior.

30 review for The Expatriation of Franklin Pierce: The Story of a President and the Civil War

  1. 4 out of 5

    Mara

    Do you see that dot there? It's the world tiniest violin and I'm playing it for Franklin Pierce. Ok, so maybe the guy was kind of harshly judged in his time, but this book just reads like a bad case of the poor me's. The book itself was pretty poorly written, and definitely not well proofread (or converted to ebook for that matter). Yes, I make typos on the regular, but I'm also not publishing a book but come on - misspelling Pierce Pearce, that's kind of ridiculous. "Not even a war, which would Do you see that dot there? It's the world tiniest violin and I'm playing it for Franklin Pierce. Ok, so maybe the guy was kind of harshly judged in his time, but this book just reads like a bad case of the poor me's. The book itself was pretty poorly written, and definitely not well proofread (or converted to ebook for that matter). Yes, I make typos on the regular, but I'm also not publishing a book but come on - misspelling Pierce Pearce, that's kind of ridiculous. "Not even a war, which would inevitably and sadly see Pierce and Davis on opposite sides, could severe their bond." I feel reasonably confident that Zachariah Chandler didn't toss a hyphen into his first name ("Zacha-riah"), but one never knows. Also, and maybe this one's just me, but sentence constructions such as Nor did the voters of Hillsborough fail to forget how... left me feeling pretty confused (So, did they not not forget? Did they remember?) In terms of his thesis, that Pierce got an unfairly bad rap, it would have been significantly strengthened by letting us in on what Pierce did that was good rather than just arguing that he was not as bad as others suggested. The author brought up some legitimate points. Yes, the suspension of habeas corpus is a bit of an infringement on civil liberties. However, he's so heavy-handed in his accusations that it comes off sounding defensive. With lines like "This was the dark underside of Lincoln’s America," and references to Lincoln's "usurpation of power," I had trouble buying in. We hear a lot about Pierce's two BFFs, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Jefferson Davis. So, that's a thing. Maybe Pierce wasn't worthy of being "the most hated man in America," but it also seems like he wasn't much to write home (or a book) about.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Gene McAvoy

    The book was excellent. The publisher's mechanics of handling endnotes was very poorly executed, amateurish, and distracting. As for Pierce, IMO he was a better president than he was given credit for. He was a very interesting and somewhat tragic character. This book is well worth reading despite the very poor publishing job. The book was excellent. The publisher's mechanics of handling endnotes was very poorly executed, amateurish, and distracting. As for Pierce, IMO he was a better president than he was given credit for. He was a very interesting and somewhat tragic character. This book is well worth reading despite the very poor publishing job.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Tyler

    the most interesting thing about Franklin Pierce is that he was close friends with Jefferson Davis and Nathaniel Hawthorne.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Elaine

    I was surprised at how much I liked this book. Finding a more in-depth biography of Franklin Pierce was difficult and this book began at the beginning of his post-presidency life. Some things that stood out to me were that his best friends were Nathaniel Hawthorne and Jefferson Davis. He was vilified because he thought the abolitionists were provoking a war and he was for peace. He stood firm on his efforts for peace. He was considered a congenial gentleman. Having said all that, consensus seems I was surprised at how much I liked this book. Finding a more in-depth biography of Franklin Pierce was difficult and this book began at the beginning of his post-presidency life. Some things that stood out to me were that his best friends were Nathaniel Hawthorne and Jefferson Davis. He was vilified because he thought the abolitionists were provoking a war and he was for peace. He stood firm on his efforts for peace. He was considered a congenial gentleman. Having said all that, consensus seems that congeniality doesn't make for a strong leader and he was unable to stop the Civil War. He is considered second worst president (after James Buchanan, Abraham Lincoln's predecessor, who was the president who couldn't stop the Civil War either). He seemed to be a decent man.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Daniel DeLappe

    Good book. Pierce has been derided as President by historians and rightfully so. This book tries and presents some weak evidence that he was little more then a weak kneed fool. Compared to what has been in the White House since 1992 he was a great President

  6. 4 out of 5

    Patrice

    I liked the author's style; very easy to read. It wasn't as much a biography, or a history of his presidency, but told about his reputation after leaving office. Which was fascinating, actually. I will definitely read this author again. I liked the author's style; very easy to read. It wasn't as much a biography, or a history of his presidency, but told about his reputation after leaving office. Which was fascinating, actually. I will definitely read this author again.

  7. 4 out of 5

    John Brewer

    Not a true biography, Mr. Boulard's book would seem to be built around the concept that Mr. Pierce should be well remembered because he was a really nice man who stayed loyal to his friends. Not a true biography, Mr. Boulard's book would seem to be built around the concept that Mr. Pierce should be well remembered because he was a really nice man who stayed loyal to his friends.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jessica (booneybear)

    I can't believe that living in NH, how insanely hard it was to find biographies on Franklin Pierce! Grrrr. I ended up ordering this one from Amazon. Unfortunately it is about Franklin Pierce's life after leaving office and not about his presidency. The book itself was short and an easy read. I did find many interesting tidbits while reading. I enjoyed reading about the unlikely friendship between Jefferson Davis and Franklin Pierce (weird, right??) Who would think that Davis (who became the pres I can't believe that living in NH, how insanely hard it was to find biographies on Franklin Pierce! Grrrr. I ended up ordering this one from Amazon. Unfortunately it is about Franklin Pierce's life after leaving office and not about his presidency. The book itself was short and an easy read. I did find many interesting tidbits while reading. I enjoyed reading about the unlikely friendship between Jefferson Davis and Franklin Pierce (weird, right??) Who would think that Davis (who became the president of the Confederacy) and Pierce (who was a stanch Unionist) would be fast friends. Even through the civil war they maintained their friendship. Franklin Pierce seemed to be a "Love him" or "hate him" type of guy. There didn't seem to be very much gray area where he was involved. A lot of people thought he was a drunk and one politician even compared Pierce to excrement (now that is hatred!). But even with all the hatred for the man, he was the only president whose cabinet remained intact throughout a presidential term in office. Go figure. Apparently Franklin Pierce and Abraham Lincoln did not have many good things to say about each other, but Pierce did go out of his way when Lincoln lost his son to write him condolences (as Pierce's son died right before he took office). I will most likely pick up another Pierce biography to learn more about his early life and term in office, but this book seemed to be a good indication of what Franklin Pierce was like in his later life.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Tom

    I knew not one thing about Pierce when I started this. Interesting approach by the author covering the span of time from the end of Pierce's term as President to his death. Pierce entered the presidency following one of the most lopsided elections in our history and left the office one of the most despised men to have ever been President. Pierce was devoted to upholding the Constitution and to preserving the Union so he gets a plus from me for that. At the same time he was devoted to his life lo I knew not one thing about Pierce when I started this. Interesting approach by the author covering the span of time from the end of Pierce's term as President to his death. Pierce entered the presidency following one of the most lopsided elections in our history and left the office one of the most despised men to have ever been President. Pierce was devoted to upholding the Constitution and to preserving the Union so he gets a plus from me for that. At the same time he was devoted to his life long friend Jeff Davis an tried to fence sit between the North and South to preserve the Union. In the end he pleased no one. Sad and tragic, but at the end I had to respect the man for standing by his principles. Might have to read about his earlier life one day. Wrongly maligned by his contemporaries I think, only now being recognized in a more positive way.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Brett

    If I wanted to read a college essay about Pierce I would have gone back in time 12 years. The author creams so many quotes know every page that I get no real sense of what he actually thinks and at times the thoughts are so muddled with useless details that I'm more confused on Pierce than I was going in. If I wanted to read a college essay about Pierce I would have gone back in time 12 years. The author creams so many quotes know every page that I get no real sense of what he actually thinks and at times the thoughts are so muddled with useless details that I'm more confused on Pierce than I was going in.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Eric A.

    Excellent look at a good man who was not a good president.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Barry Carlson

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

  14. 4 out of 5

    Rich

  15. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

  16. 5 out of 5

    Paul Sorrells

  17. 5 out of 5

    James

  18. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Morse

  19. 5 out of 5

    Hatchet Mouth

  20. 4 out of 5

    Colin Thomas

  21. 5 out of 5

    Doug Remley

  22. 5 out of 5

    Christopher Richardson

  23. 4 out of 5

    Diane Dreher

  24. 4 out of 5

    Macrgi Bertheau

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jarrett

  26. 4 out of 5

    Mary Tanner

  27. 4 out of 5

    Wayne Symes

  28. 4 out of 5

    Nick

  29. 4 out of 5

    Brantley

  30. 5 out of 5

    Slash24

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