[President Franklin Pierce, three-quarter length portrait, seated, facing right, with left hand inside vest]
Franklin Pierce (November 23, 1804 – October 8, 1869) was the 14th President of the United States (1853–57). Pierce was a northern Democrat who saw the abolitionist movement as a fundamental threat to the unity of the nation. By pursuing the recommendations of southern advisers, Pierce hoped to ease the divisions that led eventually to Civil War. His actions to signing the Kansas–Nebraska Act and enforcing the Fugitive Slave Act failed to stem intersectional conflict, setting the stage for Southern secession. "Frequently the more trifling the subject, the more animated and protracted the discussion."