When the Democratic national convention met at Cincinnati in June 1856, Pierce was an avowed candidate for renomination, but as his attitude on the slavery question, and especially his subserviency to the South in supporting the pro-slavery party in the Territory of Kansas, had lost him the support of the Northern wing of his party, the nomination went to James Buchanan.
Many Southern leaders desired his renomination by the Democratic party in 1860, but he received such suggestions with disfavour.
In 1884 he allowed his name to be presented for renomination in the Republican convention, but he was easily defeated by the friends of James G.
In 1842 he declined a renomination to the state legislature and attempted unsuccessfully to secure a nomination to Congress.
His conduct being attacked, he declined renomination for the governorship, but was unanimously returned by Albemarle as a delegate to the state legislature; and on the day previously set for legislative inquiry on a resolution offered by an impulsive critic, he received, by unanimous vote of the house, a declaration of thanks and confidence.
There is a charge, which has never been proved or disproved, that Madison's real desire was for peace, but that in order to secure the renomination he yielded to that wing of his party which was resolved on war with Great Britain.