The Democratic Machine, 1850-1854

By Roy Franklin Nichols | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XI
THE CABINET

By eleven o'clock on the evening of Election Day, Franklin Pierce knew that he was to be the next President of the United States. He allowed no demonstration of congratulation in Concord that night, and the next morning he went quietly away to the old homestead at Hillsborough. The thoughts which came to him and the emotions that he experienced during the next few days were unknown to any but himself; on November 5 he returned to Concord nerved to his new task. And it was a task. During the next four months he must choose a cabinet, formulate his policies and incorporate them in his inaugural address. Upon the success or failure of these creations depended in large measure the maintenance of party harmony and strength. These problems were in themselves difficult of solution, but circumstances made them thrice difficult. The President-elect was continually distracted. He was the legitimate prey for any and all who might desire to receive office or give advice. Concord became a shrine for the faithful and thither many a hopeful pilgrim wended his way. There many made their devotions and came away with the bitter sweet recollection of a hearty welcome, a pleasant smile-- and no satisfaction.

In Concord, New Hampshire, then, Pierce settled down to work out his problems. His chief adviser was ex- SenatorCharles G. Atherton, a long time confidential friend who during his congressional career had been the sponsor

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