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New Hampshire: Granite State
JOINED UNION: June 21, 1788
STATE BIRD: Purple Finch
STATE FLOWER: Purple Lilac
MEANING OF STATE NAME: Named in 1630 by Captain John Mason after his home county in England
1992 POPULATION: 1,110,801
RANK FOR POPULATION: 41
LAND AREA: 8,969 square miles
RANK IN SIZE IN UNION: 44
ECONOMY: Tourism, leather goods, electronics, plastics, maple syrup and sugar, fabricated metal products.
HISTORY: Home to Mohawk and other Indian tribes before the English made a settlement in 1623 near the present port of Rye. Fighting between settlers and Indians continued until 1759 when the Indians were defeated. New Hampshire delegates were the first to vote for the Declaration of Independence in 1776. A state whose motto is "Live free or die," New Hampshire residents are fiercely independent. Today, the state hosts the first primary in each presidential election. The state's picturesque landscape, quaint covered bridges, and country inns draw many tourists each year, especially when the leaves change color in autumn.
Man From The Granite Hills March 6, 1853
No man ever became President with a sadder heart than Franklin Pierce. Just two months before his inauguration, Pierce and his wife saw their only son killed in a train wreck. He never recovered and it did not help that he served during a period which saw Americans kill Americans over the issues of slavery.
People had always expected great things from Franklin Pierce, who was born on November 23, 1804. Son of a two-time governor of New Hampshire, he was elected to the U.S. Senate at the age of 33 -- the youngest member of that body.
But that early promise began to fade rapidly. His record in Congress wasn't impressive and the only thing that set him apart from other Northern Democrats was his support for slavery.
In 1842, he resigned from the Senate and returned to private life, until 1846, when President James K. Polk appointed him a brigadier general in the Mexican War. He fought in Mexico, but his military career, like his Congressional record, wasn't very impressive.
This didn't stop his supporters back in New Hampshire from making him a war hero and backing him for President in 1852. When none of the big-name politicians could win nomination, the Democrats turned to Pierce as a compromise candidate.
As America's 14th President, Pierce tried to end the fight over slavery. But instead of helping, he hurt his own cause by endorsing the Kansas-Nebraska Act. This measure said settlers in these two territories could choose whether slavery should be permitted. This angered many Northerners and they formed the Republican Party.
By 1856, pro-slavery and free-soil settlers were killing each other in the Kansas Territory and the bloodshed on the plains destroyed Pierce's presidency, costing him any chance at renomination. Bitter over the rejection of his policies, his opposition to the Civil War made him one of the most hated men in the North until his death on October 8, 1869.
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