14. Franklin Pierce (1853-1857)


Vice President – William R. King


  • Southern Senator Preston Brooks “canes” Northern Senator Charles Sumner as a defense of southern slavery
  • New England Emigrant Aid Company sends armed abolitionists into Kansas Territory to turn it to free-state status despite the Douglas Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854


  • Secretary of State Marcy negotiates the annexation of the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1854, then Commercial Reciprocity Treaty in 1855:
  • Senate rejects the annexation because it calls for immediate statehood rather than a period of territorial status first
  • Senate rejects the commerce pact over concerns from sugar-producers in Louisiana
  • Canadian Reciprocity Treaty of 1854 grants America much better fishing privileges than it had under the original Convention of 1818
  • British fishing allowed 1000 miles south along America’s eastern seaboard
  • Other products such as farm goods should be admitted by Canada and the United States without any duties
  • Crimean War 1854-1856
  • British outraged by prevalent anti-British sentiment in the United States and sympathy for Tsarist Russia
  • British ambassador John Crampton dismissed [May 28, 1856] for surreptitiously enlisting American volunteers to fight against Tsarist Russia
  • Recognition of the William Walker government in Nicaragua