About These Pages
OK, why? Why go to all the effort -- the research, the writing, the
designing -- and, let's be frank here, the considerable expense, to
create a website about one of the string of hapless, forgotten,
early 19th century American presidents? And why this
hapless, forgotten, early 19th century president? And
heck was President
Franklin Pierce, anyway?
To answer the second question first (the third question if you count
"OK, why?" as a question), Franklin Pierce was the most
hapless and forgotten of those pre-Civil War presidents. He was
also the best looking.
These qualities make Pierce the most accessible long-ago president for our
time. He is the most intimate of presidents (Bill
Clinton excepted), the president our age most easily can recognize as a celebrity. And it is as a celebrity -- beautiful, flawed, but
ultimately unknowable -- that we ultimately come to know Pierce.
Thus does his brand rest.
As for the first question (or is it the second?),
imagine if you will three otherwise educated and well-socialized
individuals who, as children, took a sharp and unexpected detour to
the Land of Obsession and stopped to drink at the Fountain of
Presidents. what you end up with is stacks of books about the
presidents that end in the late 1960s or early '70s, posters fit for
in the case of one of us,
a set of presidential miniatures that he proudly displays to this
You also end up knowing
a whole lot of stuff that you
can't do anything with.
If you're lucky enough to meet the rare someone like yourself (or an
indulgent historian or political scientist), you have a chance to
talk about what you know. It's easy to talk about Washington, or
Jefferson, Lincoln or FDR. There's so much to say. Not the case with
America's 14th president. The one who can expound at length upon
Franklin Pierce deserves praise as well
Please join us. You'll barely feel a thing.
-- David Holzel, 1999 (updated 2008)