Franklin Pierce (1804-1869), the son of a onetime governor of New Hampshire, entered politics at a young age. He served as speaker of the state legislature before winning election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1833. After two terms in the House and one in the Senate, Pierce returned to practicing law, only to emerge in 1852 as the Democratic presidential candidate. During Pierce’s administration (1853-1857), settlement was encouraged in the northwest region of the country, even as sectional tensions increased over the issue of slavery and its extension into new territories. The Kansas-Nebraska Act, which Pierce signed in 1854, enraged antislavery northerners and brought about the emergence of the new Republican Party. Pierce’s inability to handle the upheaval in Kansas led to repudiation by many Democrats, who denied him the party’s nomination in 1856.