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Pierce, Franklin (Administration)

Born in New Hampshire in 1804 to a rich Democratic farmer who would eventually be governor, Franklin Pierce would first hold political office in the state legislature, where he would quickly become speaker. He rapidly advanced and was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, and then became the youngest member of the U.S. Senate. After five years in the Senate, however, Pierce left politics altogether and returned to being an attorney. He resisted numerous overtures, including a chance to be attorney general under President James Polk. The closest he came to politics was working as a federal district attorney for the state of New Hampshire.

When war broke out with Mexico in 1846, Pierce enlisted at the lowest rung—private. He was well known and widely ...

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