What Were the Major Accomplishments of Franklin Pierce?

President Franklin Pierce's major accomplishments include the Gadsden Purchase and the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854. He was also responsible for the Ostend Manifesto, which provoked a significant negative response. He was unable to defuse the tensions leading up to the impending Civil War. He was not a popular president and was not re-elected.

In the Gadsden Purchase, the United States bought territory from Mexico that later became parts of New Mexico and Arizona. The purchase was named after James Gadsden, who negotiated it. It cost $15 million in 1853 dollars, added 29,600 square miles to the United States and established the western boundary of the country.

The Kansas-Nebraska Act repealed the Missouri Compromise. As a result, Kansas was allowed to determine whether it would be a slave or free territory. Fierce fighting broke out in Kansas for two years following Pierce's signing of the Kansas-Nebraska Act. Even though Pierce was a Democrat, the Democratic Party saw this as a betrayal and did not renominate him for president.

Pierce supported the publication of the Ostend Manifesto in the New York Times, another act that lost him support from his party in the north. The Ostend Manifesto suggested that the United States should attack Cuba if Spain refused to sell it to the United States.