Track 1 Analytical Essay #1: Pierce And Buchanan

1028 words - 5 pages

Franklin Pierce and James Buchanan are undoubtedly some our worst presidents of the United States. Not only were they not strong in the decisive moments when the country needed them, but they both made decisions that placed the country into more peril while leaning more towards one side and ignoring the other. Buchanan intensified the disasters of the Pierce administration by not soothing the tensions between the north and south ultimately leading to the civil war. Peirce and Buchanan entered office with Pierce being sightless, and obsequious while Buchanan was dim and pathetic, which contributed to splitting the country and ruining the opportunity to have their presidencies viewed in a positive light.
With sectional tensions running high, Buchanan worsened catastrophes from Pierce’s administration by getting involved in the Dred Scott case and with the admission of Kansas because he sympathized with the South. In the Dred Scott case, Buchanan “influenced the Supreme Court’s controversial…decision by pressuring a Northern justice to vote with the Southern majority against the legality of Missouri Compromise” (Miller 177). Just as the democratic Franklin Pierce agreed with the Southern fight that lead to conflict between the two sides, so too would Buchanan augment the size of tension by fighting for the same side and not the other. Buchanan was attempting to aid the South by putting their issues before the rest of the country by trying to throw out the Missouri compromise and “endors[ing] the admission of Kansas into the Union as a slave state against the will of a majority of its settlers” (ibid.). Bleeding Kansas had occurred during the Pierce administration as the first big fight that would lead to the civil war, but instead of Buchanan trying to mend the Northern and Southern ties, he gave “way to the pressure from the South” agreeing with their cause pushing for slavery to spread (ibid.). Buchanan would lose credibility in the north thereby “creat[ing] a massive backlash against him and the South” (Miller 184). Thus inciting a war that may have been averted if Buchanan learned from Pierce’s faults, and if these Presidents were not one-sided and not of horrible character.
Both presidents came into office at a difficult time when the President had to know what he was doing and be strong so that the country would get through the slavery issue. This was not the case for Pierce, who tried to please everyone, or Buchanan, who lacked courage of decisive action to make decisions and wasted time on useless matters. But these two men share a quality in common; they each did not comprehend the contentious situation at hand. Pierce ruined his presidency by being “weak and congenitally incapable of handling the presidency…[, so] [s]tonger men ran his administration… [and instead of choosing a path] that required courage [to be] in conflict with both Northern and Southern extremists, [he took the] easier” route (Miller 153 and 164). Pierce was a...

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