"Sam believed that President Pierce had lit a fire there"

 Although the tensions that led to the American Civil War had been simmering for at least seventy years before his presidency, Franklin Pierce's time in office escalated the situation, mainly through his handling of the Kansas-Nebraska Bill. (See bookmarks to Page 27, " Franklin Pierce, the new president " and Page 274, " specifically the Kansas-Nebraska Act ").

The Kansas-Nebraska Bill led to a series of violent conflicts, known collectively as Bleeding Kansas, fought over the question of whether Kansas would enter the United States as a free or a slave state. The Civil War, which was predominantly fought over this issue, broke out in 1861 and lasted until 1865.