He was a Representative and a Senator from New Hampshire prior to his election as President. He was born in Hillsborough, New Hampshire on November 23, 1804, and attended the academies of Hancock and Francestown. He prepared for college at Phillips Exeter Academy and graduated from Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine, in 1824. He studied law, then was admitted to the bar and commenced practice in Hillsborough in 1827. He was a member of the State general court from 1829 to 1833, and served as Speaker from 1832 to 1833. He was elected as a Democrat to the Twenty-third and Twenty-fourth Congresses (March 4, 1833 - March 3, 1837). He was elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate and served from March 4, 1837, to February 28, 1842, when he resigned. He was chairman of the Committee on Pensions (Twenty-sixth Congress)
After his service in the Senate, Pierce resumed the practice of law in Concord. He was district attorney for New Hampshire, and declined the appointment as Attorney General of the United States tendered by President James Polk. He served in the Mexican War as a colonel and brigadier general. He was a member of the New Hampshire State constitutional convention in 1850 and served as its president.
Pierce was elected President of the United States on the Democratic ticket and served from March 4, 1853, to March 3, 1857, following which he resumed the practice of law. After losing the Democratic nomination, he reportedly quipped "there's nothing left to do but get drunk", which he apparently did frequently, once running down a pedestrian while drunk-driving a carriage. Franklin Pierce died in Concord on October 8, 1869, from cirrhosis of the liver, and was interred in Minat Inclosure in the Old North Cemetery.
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