Franklin Pierce entered office during a time of “great economic prosperity and relative tranquility” that was brought forth by the Compromise of 1850 passed under Fillmore’s presidency. For the time being, heated sectional disputes between the north and south were put aside. Known for being a Northerner that favored slavery, Franklin Pierce was accused of trying to expand slavery and he furthered suspicions when he sought to buy Cuba from Spain, an effort that failed.
Then came the problem with the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which was proposed by Stephen Douglas. The act repealed the the Missouri Compromise of 1820 which stated that with every slave state that joined the union, there would also be an establishment of a free state. Franklin Pierce believed that this act was to prevent the South from succeeding as they have long wanted to repeal the Missouri Compromise.”it being the true intent and meaning of this act not to legislate slavery into any Territory or State, nor to exclude it therefrom, but to leave the people thereof perfectly free to form and regulate their domestic institutions in their own way, subject only to the Constitution of the United States..“(Kansas Nebraska Act) The Kansas-Nebraska act pushed for popular sovereignty that would also citizens to decide whether or not to have slavery in their state. This caused Kansas to become the battlefield over slavery as northerners and southerners fought for control over the area, “Bleeding Kansas” had broke out in 1855. After his first term, Pierce wanted to become reelected at the end of his term, but his inability to control the situation in Kansas had cost him his supporters. Despite stating that he could make up for his shortcomings during his first term, he would not be reelected.
The north saw Pierce as an advocate for the south to expand slavery and his actions to annex Cuba and pass the Kansas Nebraska act only furthered suspicions. Not only did Pierce lose popularity in the north, his actions only worsened the fragile relations between the North and South due to sectional dispute. Unlike his two predecessors, who desperately worked to hold the nation together, Pierce had destroyed the hard work of two the presidents before him.
Kansas Nebraska Act 1854