While in search of another candidate who was a weak as Hillary, Clinton I flipped through a number of elections. There were two old generals, WilliamHenry Harrison and Zachary Taylor. If you look into their backgrounds, they had won significant battles during the War of 1812 for Harrison (Battle of Thames)and for Taylor, conflicts during the Mexican War. So I would say they looked better on paper than Hillary.
I finally found Franklin Pierce, who is today rated as one of the worst presidents in history. Frank was a political “boy wonder” in his youth. He was elected to the House of Representatives in 1833 when he was 29 years old. He moved up to Senate in 1837 when he was 32. In both houses he supported the Democratic line and had no scandals attached to his name.
Frank was a party animal, however, and he did enjoy his liquor. That was one thing that made him popular in Washington in addition to “go along, get along” personality. His wife, who was a withdrawn and deeply religious woman, didn’t care for that, she finally pushed him to resign his Senate seat and go back home to New Hampshire to practice law.
Politics was still in Frank’s blood, however, he made himself available for the 1852 Democratic presidential nomination. When the party deadlocked, Frank won the nomination as a dark horse candidate on the 49th ballot. Can you imagine a convention lasting for 49 ballots to find a presidential candidate? The Democrats had one in 1924 that lasted for over 100 ballots!
Frank claimed to be a hero of the Mexican War. While he hadserved, his record had not been stellar. One Louisville newspaper put this way:
“Pierce tumbled from his horse just as he was getting ready for one fight … fainted and fell in the opening of the second … got sick and had to go to bed on the eve of the third, and came pretty near to getting into a fourth, missing it only by an hour.”
Pierce’s problems with alcohol were noted in one slogan,“The general who never lost a bottle.”
The Democrats were the majority party, and the opposition Whigs were in the process of disintegrating. The Republican Party would rise in par tfrom the Whig ashes. All of this led to the election of Franklin Pierce as president over General Winfield Scott.
Pierce would serve only one term. In 1856 Pierce wanted to run for a second term, but the Democrats refused to nominate him. After he lost the nomination, Piece commented to one of his friends, “Well I guess there’s nothing else to do but to go get drunk.”
Better or worse the Hillary? What do you think?
If any of you would to see some 1852 campaign medalets, just ask.