Tuesday, September 21, 2004
Handsome Frank: The 14th President of the United States
Franklin Pierce, the 14th President of the United States, had the nickname Handsome Frank. I know, it sounds like the nickname that a pool shark or a hit man would have, but it was the nickname of the leader of the free world.
Frank was born in Hillsborough, New Hampshire, in 1804. At the age of 24 he was elected to the legislature of New Hampshire. Pierce served in the Mexican War and received the Democratic Presidential nomination in 1852.
The campaign used the slogan: "We Polked you in 1844; we shall Pierce you in 1852."
This was tried again in 2004 when the Democratic Party briefly used the slogan "We Gored you in 2000; we shall Kerry a gun and shoot you with it in 2004."
Franks opponent was Gen. Winfield Scott a member of the Whig party, Pierce won with a narrow margin of popular votes.
During Frank's single presidential term (1853-1857) America had only 31 states and no computer animated films about a fish who sounds like Albert Brooks. It was truly a darker age.
Frank's Vice President was a man named William R. King. It is a shame he was only VP and not king. People could say 'Our King is William R. King, our King. William R. King.' They could also say 'I like stupid puns.'
After four years in office, Frank was not re-nominated. This was a major disappointment for him and he reportedly said "there's nothing left to do but get drunk."
And get drunk he did. Frank even ran down a pedestrian in his carriage while driving drunk. After many years of heavy drinking Frank died of cirrhosis of the liver.
On a happier note we now have computer animated films about a fish who sounds like Albert Brooks.
Interesting facts about Pierce:
Franklin Pierce was the first President to have a Christmas tree in the White House.
Franklin Pierce is the only President to have said "I promise" instead of "I swear" at his Inauguration.
Pierce installed the first central-heating system in the White House.
Pierce was the first president born in the 19th century.
He is distant relative of Barbara Bush, mother of US President George W. Bush and wife of US President George H. W. Bush.
Interesting facts I just made up about Pierce:
He insisted on wearing gloves during dinner, but not on his hands.
The Sesame Street character Elmo was based on Pierce's wife.
Pierce’s wife was short and covered in red fur.
In Walt Disney World's Hall of Presidents, he is the only President depicted shirtless.
Often took advice from Postmaster General James Campbell and Secretary of the Navy James Dobbin, whom he called 'My peeps, yo.'
Couldn't pronounce the word 'Washington.' Instead he called the nation's capitol 'Wa-la-la D.C.'