Franklin Pierce Day in New Hampshire - Granite Grok

Franklin Pierce Day in New Hampshire

“The only difference between a politician and a shopping cart is that a politician holds more liquor…” —Unknown

franklinpiercedrunkHouse Bill 576 would establish  a “Franklin Pierce Day” in New Hampshire on Each November 23rd…the day following the anniversary of the death of another President. The bill states,

The governor shall annually proclaim November 23rd as Franklin Pierce Day in commemoration of his many accomplishments and service to New Hampshire and his country. Schools are encouraged to commemorate the day with appropriate educational activities.

So, who was Franklin Pierce? Plainly stated, he was a drunkard who supported the confederacy during the civil war. Franklin Pierce also enjoys being a member of the exclusive club of worst presidents ever. “Popular Images of of American Presidents,” a 1988 book by William Spragens, lists Pierce as, “ranking among the least effective presidents.”

In a Union Leader Editorial yesterday, the UL wrote,  “Noting Pierce’s role as a willing pawn of slavery interests, the House Executive Departments and Administration Committee has voted – unanimously – against HB 576, saying it “was unwilling to perpetually honor such a person.” Those words might have been more biting had the authors encountered Pierce’s criticism of Abraham Lincoln, made July 4, 1863, the day after Gettysburg: “How futile are all our efforts to maintain the Union by force of arms.”

And, just for the record, Schools do currently honor Franklin Pierce with, “appropriate educational activities.” “Thirsty Thursdays are widely popular, not just on New Hampshire Campuses, but many others across the country. “Franks and Beers” is another popular misnomer colloquially assigned to Franklin Pierce University. So it is fair to say his legend lives on in so many ways, albeit informally.

The larger question that looms for me is what is it that prompts State Representatives to sponsor such legislation? Representative Dick Patton, (D) Merrimack District 17 is the prime sponsor along with Dr. Linda Lauer, PhD, (D) Grafton District 15 from Bath as the co-sponsor.  “Dr. Strangelove and Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle go to Concord,” might be another title. You cannot help but wonder if some clever constituent talked them into sponsoring the bill and then when done, laughter and knee-slapping followed over beers. Or, could it just be that mix of brains and common sense where never the two shall meet?

So Fear not, Frank Pierce is well remembered without the inane legislation.