Franklin Pierce


Why was Pierce a dark horse candidate for president in 1852?

At the Democratic Convention in 1852, Pierce was not considered a contender for the party’s nomination. The four leading candidates were: Lewis Cass of Michigan, who had lost to Zachary Taylor in 1848; James Buchanan of Pennsylvania, who had been Polk’s secretary of state (and who would succeed Pierce as president); Stephen Douglas of Illinois (later best known for running against Abraham Lincoln); and William L. Marcy (who would become Pierce’s secretary of state).

Cass led on the early ballots and later Buchanan led, but no candidate could acquire the necessary majority. Pierce was first proposed on the thirty-fifth ballot as a compromise candidate. He gradually gained support and became the nominee on the forty-ninth ballot.


This is a web preview of the "The Handy Presidents Answer Book" app. Many features only work on your mobile device. If you like what you see, we hope you will consider buying. Get the App