Sunk in storm off Cape Hatteras coast at the end of 1862, the wreck of innovative Civil War ironclad USS Monitorwas discovered in 1973 and partially recovered in the early 2000s, with its distinctive turret being raised on August 5, 2002. The turret and other artifacts now reside at the Monitor Center at the Mariner’s Museum and Park in Newport News, VA.
“The Original Monitor after her Fight with the Merrimac. Near the port-hole can be seen the dents made by the heavy steel-pointed shot from the guns of the Merrimac. Hampton Roads, Virginia. Stereo.”, 7/1862. NAID 559269
Also (I'm aware I was here minutes ago) what are your opinions on president Franklin pierce?
Despite all the tragic things that befell Franklin Pierce, he is seen as one of the worst American Presidents in history and it seems to be for good reason.
Franklin Pierce’s presidency began in tragedy. Weeks after his election, on January 6th, 1853, the President and his family had been traveling from Boston by train when their car derailed and rolled down an embankment near Andover, Massachusetts. Pierce and his wife Jane survived, but in the wreck found their only remaining son, eleven year old Benjamin was crushed to death and his body was nearly decapitated. Unable to hide the gruesome sight from either him or his wife, they both suffered severe depression afterward, which likely affected contributed to Pierce’s poor performance as president “You have summoned me in my weakness, you must sustain me by your strength.” he said in his Inaugural Address. Jane avoided social functions for much of her first two years as First Lady.
When he took office, the country was experiencing a great era of economic prosperity and relative tranquility. For the time being, the Compromise of 1850 seemed to have resolved the various sectional conflicts–primarily over slavery–that had been dividing the country. At this point, the fourteen president of the United States was the youngest president to ever be inaugurated. Unlike all presidents before him he was the first to memorize his Oath of Office and the second not to affirm it on a Bible (John Quincy Adams was the first) he did it on a Law Book. He avoided the word “slavery” but alluded to his wish to bring that “important subject” to rest and maintain a peaceful union as threat of Civil War had been looming in the horizon back even in seventh president Andrew Jackson’s two term presidency.
In his cabinet he attempted to bring figures from all stretches of American humanity. Much like fifth president James Monroe he tried to gather people who represented all parts of America. He decided to allow each of the parties factions some appointments, even those whom had not supported the Compromise of 1850 which was lowering fears. Pierce sought to represent all factions in government and federal positions yet could fully satisfy none of them. Party members found themselves unable to secure positions for their friends, which put the Democratic Party on edge and fueled bitterness between separate factions. Northern newspapers began accusing Pierce of filling his government with pro-slavery secessionists, while southern newspapers accused him of abolitionism. No matter what he did, he seemed to be struck.
Pierce made mistakes by not communicating with his Vice-President, William R. King, which was not entirely his doing. By the start of their term, King was severely ill with tuberculosis and went out of the country to Cuba to attempt to recuperate. He died at his home a few days after returning one month into the presidency–the office of vice president would stay vacant for the rest of the term and Pierce was left without a second in command. With the death of the president’s only child and the death of his vice president hovering above the splintering partisan, it was not looking very positive.
It was not that Pierce didn’t care or was unfit for the job. Pierce was up and at-em hoping to create a more efficient government than his recent predecessors. One of Pierce’s reforms was to expand the role of the United State Attorney General in appointing federal judges and attorneys, which was an important step in the eventual development of the Justice Department. On economic policy, Pierce charged his Treasury of Secretary with reforming the treasury department which was being managed unwell and Guthrie increased sight of Treasury employees and tariff collectors, many were withholding money from the government. Despite laws requiring funds to be held in the Treasury, large deposits remained in private banks with the Whig administrations. Guthrie reclaimed these funds and wished to prosecute corrupt officials, but with only mixed success. It was attempting to rid of brooding corruption.
Secretary of War Jefferson Davis, at Pierce’s request led surveying missions for possibly transcontinental railroad routes, increasing train tracks. Davis employed the Army Corps of Engineers to supervise construction projects in the nation’s capital which included expanded the United States Capitol and the construction of the Washington Monument.
The Pierce administration fell in line with the expansionist movement, and William L. Marcy lead the charge as Secretary of State. They re-negotiating provisions from the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo which required the US to prevent Native American raids into Mexico from New Mexico Territory. It was negotiated and a treaty with Mexican President was re-created in December of 1853. It included now southern Arizona and pieces of southern New Mexico. The treaty brought more land.
Pierce’s presidency brought a new trade agreement with Britain after American fisherman began to feel assaulted by the increasing supervision by the U.K’s navy. The treaty was ratified in August 1854, which was seen as a first step towards the American annexation of Canada. Gaining control of Central America was another goal and the treaty of Clayton–Bulwer from 1850 was failing to keep Great Britain from expanding change. Minister to England Buchanan was not successful in getting the British to renounce their Central American possessions. Three U.S. diplomats in Europe drafted a proposal to the president to purchase Cuba from Spain but the publication of the Ostend Manifesto, drawn up by the Secretary of State, awoke scorn of northerners who saw it as an attempt to annex a slave-holding possession and bolster Southern interests.
Pierce favored reorganization of the military as well. The Secretary of War and the Navy Secretary found the Army and Navy in poor condition, with low forces, and a reluctance to gather new technology, and terrible management. Commodore Matthew C. Perry visited Japan in an effort to expand trade. Perry signed a trade treaty with the Japanese which was successfully ratified. The 1856 launch of the USS Merrimac, one of six newly commissioned steam ships, was one of Pierce’s “most personally satisfying” days in office.
What Pierce is best known for ans associated with is Kansas–Nebraska Act and it was ultimately his downfall. The bill formally organized Kansas and Nebraska into territories, opening them to settlement and railroad building; it also repealed the ban on slavery in Kansas mandated by the Missouri Compromise in 1820, declaring that the citizens of each territory–not Congress–had the right to choose whether the territory would allow slavery. Pierce was hesitant of the bill, knowing it would result in bitter opposition from the North. He was convinced to support the bill regardless. It was greatly opposed and rallied public disagreement. Northerners remained mainly suspicious of the Pierce administration and what he was accomplishing. The Whigs split and the conflict destroyed them as a national party. The Kansas–Nebraska Act was passed in May 1854. The political turmoil that followed saw the short-term rise of two political parties and the founding of the Republican Party.
The passage of the act startled so much violence between groups that the territory became known as Bleeding Kansas. Free-Staters set up a government, and drafted the Topeka Constitution, which Pierce called an act of rebellion and sent federal troops to break up a meeting of the Topeka government. After the passage of the act coincided with the seizure of escaped slave Anthony Burns in Boston, Northeners were in his support which Pierce was determined to follow the Fugitive Slave Act to the letter, and dispatched federal troops to enforce Burns return.
At the end of his term, Pierce expected to be renominated by the Democrat party. In reality his chances of winning the nomination were slim, let alone re-election. The administration was widely disliked in the North for its position on the Kansas–Nebraska Act, and Democratic leaders were aware of Pierce’s electoral vulnerability. This loss marked the only time in U.S. history that an elected president who was an active candidate for reelection was not nominated for a second term. Pierce endorsed Buchanan, though the two remained distant; he hoped to resolve the Kansas situation by November to improve the Democrats’ chances in the general election. He installed John W. Geary as territorial governor, who got the pro-slavery legislators. Geary was able to restore order in Kansas, though the electoral damage had already been done—Republicans used “Bleeding Kansas”.
In his final message to Congress, delivered in December 1856, he attacked Republicans and abolitionists. He took the opportunity to defend himself on policy, and on achieving peaceful relations with other nations. The final days, Congress passed bills to increase pay of army officers and to build new naval vessels, also expanding the number of those enlisted. It also passed a tariff reduction bill he had long wanted. Pierce and his cabinet left office on March 4th, 1857, the only time in U.S. history that the original cabinet members all remained for a full four-year term
Franklin Pierce’s administration only furthered the process of the oncoming Civil War and led to far more bad than good.
Tomorrow, you will be taking the APUSH Advanced Placement Exam. Determining on what college you want to go to, at least a three is commonplace. I don’t know about you guys, but my biggest problem is going the length of an entire essay (for example if they want me to talk about Colonial Times through the Revolution, but they just write “1763-1781” I wouldn’t know what to write about). Furthermore, I’m going to list eras, what happening during them in chronological order and a very brief description of what they did. Keep in mind that many eras (such as the 1960’s) are important both in foreign policy and domestic affairs. I will divide them accordingly. The DBQ will not ask for specific years, but it’s better to have a general understanding of the era they are asking you about so you can throw in some “specific evidence” to get that 7-9 essay. This chart is also particularly helpful with the FRQ. Anyway, let’s begin.
One hundred and fifty years ago today, on March 9, 1862, the first prophetic battle between ironclads — the USS Monitor and CSS Virginia (aka Merrimac) — took place at Hampton Roads, Virginia. The encounter ended in a standoff, but naval warfare was forever changed.
Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge-Tunnel (MMMBT) is the 4.6 mile-long (7.4 km) Hampton Roads crossing for Interstate 664 in the southeastern portion of Virginia in the United States. It is a four-lane bridge-tunnel composed of bridges, trestles, man-made islands, and tunnels under a portion of the Hampton Roads harbor where the James, Nansemond, and Elizabeth Rivers come together. It connects the independent cities of Newport News on the Virginia Peninsula and Suffolk in South Hampton Roads and is part of the Hampton Roads Beltway, a circumferential interstate highway which links the seven largest cities of Hampton Roads.
What is this!? On my way out of the Pollard Memorial Library I noticed this case. Upon further inspection I found that it’s a part of the original Monitor. One of the first ironclad ships ever built and it famously battled with the confederate ironclad the Merrimac during the Civil War. These two ships fought to a draw and were later ingloriously sunk. However, they both were state of the art in their day and revolutionized naval warfare. Interesting piece of History here in Lowell!
The town where the only sketchy thing that ever happens is 10 year olds sitting on the sidewalk trying to speak ghetto. You have officially entered a place where nothing happens (except some old lady attempting to smother her husband with a pillow. she failed.), welcome.
“My town is so quiet and lame," "At least you don’t live in Merrimac…”
…This is where I grew up. Damnit.