The 14th president of the United States was sadly not beloved by the masses. Franklin Pierce was a known alcoholic and took a strong stand against the abolitionist movement. He actually called it, “a fundamental threat to the unity of the nation”.
He signed the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, which enabled new territories to make their own decisions about the legality of slavery and in essence tore the nation in half.
Martin Van Buren
Martin Van Buren was president for a single term between the years 1837 to 1841 and through the devastating economic downturn known as the Panic of 1837. The crisis began only three months after Van Buren became president and is considered the first great depression of the United States. At the time, Van Buren came up with an idea to separate the funds of the US Treasury from the government to keep them safe from political maneuvers and differing opinions. This earned him the monikers “Little Magician” and “Sly Fox.” Before he became president, Van Buren was appointed Secretary of State by President Andrew Jackson and later became the minister to Great Britain.
Despite his good work, Van Buren’s presidency was under intense scrutiny due to the financial crisis with numerous banks and businesses forced to shut their doors during his term. In the end, the policies van Buren instated proved themselves and helped the economy to recover, but by the time the change was apparent he was no longer president. Unfortunately, he never received the credit he was due for his actions.
William Henry Harrison
William Henry Harrison is the president who held the shortest term in the history of the office. He was president for only 31 days, from March 4, 1841 to April 4, 1841 and is the first president who died in office. Harrison was the last living president before the American Revolution. He gained fame by leading the military to victory in the Battle of Tippecanoe which took place in 1811, for which he earned the nickname “Old Tippecanoe”.
Although Harrison was the first president to have been photographed, the photo has regrettably been lost over the years. His grandson, Benjamin Harrison, the son of founding father Benjamin Harrison, became the 23rd president of the United States and served from 1889 until 1893.
Millard Fillmore was the last president from the barely remembered Whig Party before it disbanded. He grew up poor but managed to gain an education and rose in the ranks to the position of vice president to Zachary Taylor’s president. When President Taylor passed away from cholera, Fillmore became President in 1850. However, soon after Taylor’s death, all the White House cabinet members resigned, leaving the brand new 13th president to form an entirely new cabinet on his own.
Fillmore signed the Compromise of 1850 in an attempt to stop the growing divide between the South and the North, but sadly the attempt failed. He also helped build a relationship between the United States and Japan, who had previously refused all interactions including international trade. This gave the US the option of docking American ships in Japan during an emergency.
Harrison’s Untimely Passing
Harrison is well known for his surprisingly long inauguration speech, which lasted a whole two hours! He died of pneumonia from a cold he got on his inauguration day.
Some people claimed that his illness was caused by him refusing to wear a warm jacket while riding a horse on the cold and rainy day and then delivering his speech.