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  Buchanan, James
NameJames Buchanan
Lancaster, Pennsylvania , United States
Website [Link]
Born April 23, 1791
DiedJune 01, 1868 (77 years)
Last ModifedRBH
Jan 05, 2015 07:31pm
Tags English - Irish - Scottish - Moderate-to-Conservative - Single - Special Forces - Freemason - Presbyterian - Disputed -
? First Lady: Harriet Lane, Niece
? Wife's Maiden Name: None None
? Number of Children: None
? Education Level: College
? School Attended: Dickinson College
? Religion: Presbyterian
? Profession: Military, Lawyer
? Military Service: No official rank

Public Service:
? Dates of Presidency: 3/4/1857 - 3/3/1861
? Presidency Number: 15
? Number of Terms: 1
? Why Presidency Ended: Not nominated
? Party: Democratic
? His Vice President(s): John C. Breckinridge
? Cabinet Service: Secretary of State (James K. Polk, 1845-1849)
? Senator: Pennsylvania (1834-1845)
? House of Representatives: Pennsylvania (1821-1831)
? State Legislative Service: PA (1814-1815)
? Other Offices: Minister to Russia; Minister to Great Britain


Early Career

Buchanan studied law at Lancaster, Pa., and in practice there gained a considerable reputation for his wide learning and brilliant oratory. Thus prepared, he went into state politics, then entered the national scene as Representative (1821?31), and was later minister to Russia (1832?33) and Senator (1834?45). A Federalist early in his career, he was later a conservative mainstay of the Democratic party.

He served (1845?49) as Secretary of State under President Polk and, although Polk exercised a strong personal hand in foreign affairs, Buchanan ably seconded his efforts. The quarrel with Great Britain over Oregon was settled peacefully. That with Mexico, which followed the annexation of Texas and the failure of the mission of John Slidell, led to the Mexican War and the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (1848).

Under President Pierce, Buchanan served (1853?56) as minister to Great Britain. He collaborated with Pierre Soul鬠minister to Spain, and John Y. Mason, minister to France, in drawing up the Ostend Manifesto (1854), which was promptly repudiated by the U.S. Dept. of State. His open advocacy of purchasing Cuba (which would presumably have come into the Union as a slaveholding state) won him the hatred of the abolitionists, whom he in turn despised as impractical troublemakers.


Buchanan was nominated as a Democratic candidate for the presidency in 1856, with John C. Breckinridge as his running mate, and he won the election over John C. Fr魯nt, the candidate of the newly formed Republican party, and Millard Fillmore, candidate of the Whig and Know-Nothing parties. Buchanan did not have the majority of the popular vote, and his moderate views were disliked and mistrusted by extremists both in the North and in the South.

Although he attempted to keep the "sacred balance" between proslavery and antislavery factions, in his administration the United States plunged toward the armed strife of the Civil War. Buchanan, who disapproved of slavery as morally wrong, felt that under the Constitution slavery had to be protected where it was established and that the inhabitants of a new territory should decide whether that territory should be free or slave. He angered many in the North by renewing efforts to purchase Cuba and by favoring the proslavery Lecompton Constitution in Kansas.

As his administration drew to a close, after the election (1860) of Abraham Lincoln to succeed him as President, Buchanan was faced with the secession of the Southern states. Very learned in constitutional law, he maintained that no state had the right to secede, but he held, on the other hand, that he had no power to coerce the erring states. He believed that the federal government was authorized to use force only in protecting federal property and in collecting customs. Therefore the question of the federal forts in Southern states became of great importance, particularly in South Carolina.

Buchanan tried desperately to keep peace and promised South Carolina congressmen that no hostile moves would be made as long as negotiations were in progress. When Major Robert Anderson moved U.S. troops from Fort Moultrie to Fort Sumter, there was an outcry from South Carolina that the President's promise had been broken. Buchanan defended Anderson but, reluctant to act, sent supplies to Fort Sumter only belatedly. He was battered with criticism from North and South, and shortly after his administration ended, gunfire at Fort Sumter precipitated the war. John Bassett Moore edited his works (12 vol., 1909?11).

DateFirmApproveDisapproveDon't Know
06/13/2007-06/24/2007 Rasmussen Reports 28.00% ( 0.0) 32.00% ( 0.0) 40.00% ( 0.0)

Title Purchase Contributor

Start Date End Date Type Title Contributor

Date Category Headline Article Contributor
Apr 12, 2011 07:00pm Study How to Run for President (And Still Have Been Born in Pennsylvania)  Article Scott³ 
Jun 28, 2004 12:00am News The Other Buchanan Controversy Was the Fifteenth President of the United States Gay?  Article Thomas Walker 

Importance? 9.50000 Average

Father James Buchanan, Sr. 0000-
Sister Jane Buchanan Lane 0000-
Niece Harriet Rebecca Lane Johnston 1830-1903

James Buchanan - First Annual Message (December 8, 1857)  Discuss
James Buchanan - Fourth Annual Message (December 3, 1860)  Discuss
James Buchanan - Second Annual Message (December 6, 1858)  Discuss
James Buchanan - Third Annual Message (December 19, 1859)  Discuss
President James Buchanan Inaugural Address March 4, 1857  Discuss
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  11/04/1856 IA US President Lost 40.70% (-8.13%)
  11/04/1856 MI US President Lost 41.52% (-15.63%)
  11/04/1856 SC US President Won 100.00% (+100.00%)
  11/04/1856 AL US President Won 62.08% (+24.16%)
  11/04/1856 IL US President Won 44.09% (+3.87%)
  11/04/1856 MS US President Won 59.44% (+18.89%)
  11/04/1856 TN US President Won 52.18% (+4.36%)
  11/04/1856 AR US President Won 67.12% (+34.24%)
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  11/04/1856 FL US President Won 56.81% (+13.63%)
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  11/04/1856 PA US President Won 58.22% (+31.37%)
  11/04/1856 US President National Vote Won 45.28% (+12.18%)
  06/06/1856 US President - D Convention Won 54.21% (+31.87%)
  04/11/1853 US Ambassador to United Kingdom Won 100.00% (+100.00%)
  06/05/1852 US President - D Convention Lost 13.21% (-22.62%)
  05/26/1848 US President - D Convention Lost 17.68% (-39.87%)
  03/06/1845 U. S. Secretary of State Won 100.00% (+100.00%)
  05/30/1844 US President - D Convention Lost 4.28% (-39.47%)
  01/10/1843 PA US Senate Won 56.06% (+15.15%)
  12/14/1836 PA US Senate Won 64.39% (+46.21%)
  12/06/1834 PA US Senate - Special Election Won 49.62% (+26.32%)
  12/00/1832 PA US Senate Lost 3.76% (-51.88%)
  01/04/1832 US Ambassador to Russia Won 100.00% (+100.00%)
  10/14/1828 PA District 4 Won 17.62% (+0.13%)
  12/12/1826 PA US Senate Lost 5.52% (-54.14%)
  10/10/1826 PA District 4 Won 18.50% (+0.68%)
  10/12/1824 PA District 4 Won 17.97% (+0.43%)
  10/08/1822 PA District 4 Won 18.60% (+0.40%)
  10/10/1820 PA District 3 Won 27.88% (+0.36%)
US President - Dec 05, 1860 D John Cabell Breckinridge
US Vice President - Senate Runoff - Feb 08, 1837 D Richard Mentor Johnson