An Exonians Defense of Franklin Pierce

Louisa Carter

Recently, us Exonians have received a lot of slander for one of our alumni, Franklin Pierce (yes, the 14th president). Voted the “least memorable” president in U.S. history, we’re not so sure that’s a bad thing (see America’s most recent presidents). So we are here to set the record straight: Franklin Pierce was not a bad guy, he just had his quirks. Just like some of us! In case you don't know who we are talking about, just look up “America’s Best Presidents” and he should make the Top 10 best presidents on most neo-Confederate websites.

Here at Exeter we encourage speed and intellect—Pierce had both. If it wasn’t for his strategic intervention, southern secession could have been pushed back years, maybe even decades. It was hard being such a controversial guy, supporting the Confederacy and everything, but his Exonian spirit was really what led to the 13th Amendment, albeit indirectly.

Secondly, there’s a lot of questions surrounding Pierce’s role in his support of the Kansas-Nebraska Act and the Fugitive Slave Act. We will be the first to admit, we Exonians have had our finer moments. But let’s use this as a lesson to exemplify that even the best and the brightest make mistakes. Pierce was in a time of grievance after his son’s death, which can lead to careless decisions such as enabling slavery on the western side of America. Moreover, his wife was in extreme distress, and as any good husband would do, he took a step back from his duties of running the country to help her. Pierce shows us that it is okay to take a step back and put your family first, even if it ends in 620,000 deaths.

Also, can we take a moment to talk about the Bush family? Our god-awful neighbors in Andover have probably the worst alumni ever, yet no one ever seems to criticize them. Everything about them, the name, the looks, the school. George H.W., George W., and that stoner Jeb: what a bunch of losers. Don’t tell us H.W. had the highest presidential approval rating ever, 89 percent in March 1991; we’re pretty sure the Andover Poll conducted that one. On his son George W.’s part, [insert 9/11 conspiracy theory here]. Similarly, the unemployment levels rose to 7.1 percent under George W. Bush’s authority, while Pierce made jobs by expanding the military, not to mention the sizes of his southern friends’ plantations. Overall, Pierce’s reign over America will be immortalized as a triumph in Exonian history, no matter what most Americans think.