Letter: Pierce statue should remain

Published: 6/27/2020 12:01:21 AM

While I now live in Texas, I grew up in Concord, and proudly tout its name when asked the “Where are you from?” question.

The late Molly Ivins, a columnist for the Dallas Times Herald and the Fort Worth Star Telegram, once labeled Dolph Briscoe “the pet rock of Texas governors.” She used the phrase because Briscoe was popular, but not real aggressive while he was in office. Perhaps we could consider Franklin Pierce to be the “pet rock of U.S. presidents.” Pierce tried to reach a compromise on slavery, but like the issue of abortion, today, there was no middle of the road allowed. That reminds me of former Texas agriculture commissioner Jim Hightower, who once claimed that the only things in the middle of the road are “yellow stripes and dead armadillos.”

Franklin Pierce is New Hampshire’s only president. No he was not perfect, but his goal, like Lincoln’s, was to keep the Union together during his term. He succeeded there. But I am sure he understood that, ultimately, he could not stop the onslaught of a war over slavery and secession. I think trying against all odds qualifies his statue to remain on the State House grounds.

The real problem stems from our Founding Fathers, who in spite of their wonderful words in the Declaration of Independence legitimized slavery in the Constitution. Of the first five presidents, Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe, only John Adams was not a slave owner. He was also the only one-termer on the bunch.

WILLIAM F. BAKER Jr.

Austin, Texas




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