Under most circumstances, I remain the most apolitical of persons. However, I must voice my opinion in this case. I wholeheartedly disagree with ex-president Franklin Pierce’s vocal criticism of Abraham Lincoln’s handling of the Civil War. Many scholars would agree, and have made their opinions known, that in the first place Franklin Pierce had few qualifications for being President. I agree with Professor Baker that in a nation fragmenting over slavery, only a bland, congenial political lightweight, such as Pierce, was saporous to the electorate.
In my opinion Lincoln did everything humanly possible to avoid the conflict which would threaten the very foundation of the country. I suggest Pierce isolate himself in his New Hampshire residence where he can consume the entire contents of his liquor cabinet and refrain from inflammatory statements which fuel an already volatile state of affairs.
I firmly believe Pierce’s leadership lacked the strength and tenacity of a Millard Fillmore or what I believe Abraham Lincoln will accomplish. As a result, turbulent events simply overwhelmed him, and he was frequently dominated by forceful politicians like Stephen A. Douglas. I believe most historians will view Pierce as an inept chief executive whose traditional style of leadership failed in the face of massive electoral divisions over slavery and the aggressiveness of Southern politicians. I point to Pierce’s handling of the land acquisitions after the war with Mexico as an example of his ineptitude as the leader of the executive branch of government. He was no match for Secretary of War Jefferson Davis or Senator James Gadsden.
I could write a magnum opus about the ineffectiveness of Pierce as President, however, I won’t waste the ink and paper. I will leave it up to history to judge him on his merits.