- NAME: James Buchanan
- OCCUPATION: U.S. President, U.S. Representative
- BIRTH DATE: April 23, 1791
- DEATH DATE: June 01, 1868
- EDUCATION: Old Stone Academy, Dickinson College
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Cove Gap, Pennsylvania
- PLACE OF DEATH: Lancaster, Pennsylvania
- Full Name: James Buchanan Jr.
- AKA: James Buchanan
- Nickname: "Old Buck"
Best Known For
James Buchanan was the 15th president of the United States. He served from 1857 to 1861, during the build-up to the Civil War.
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Buchanan supported the pro-slavery Lecompton constitution, which passed the House but was blocked by the Senate and ultimately defeated.
By the end of Buchanan's presidency, the slavery issue threatened to tear the country apart. When Abraham Lincoln was elected president in 1860, the possibility that several states would secede was approaching likelihood. In his final address to Congress,
Buchanan argued that while the states had no legal right to seceded, the federal government had no right to prevent them from doing so. Despite Buchanan's attempts to prevent it, on December 20, 1860, South Carolina became the first state to secede. By February 1861, six more states followed suit and the Confederate States of America was formed. When Buchanan left office on March 3, 1861, to retire to his estate outside of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, he left the nation on the brink of civil war.
In his retirement, Buchanan devoted much of his time to defending his handling of events leading to the Civil War, for which he was ultimately blamed. In 1866 he published a memoir, in which he laid blame for the war on abolitionists and Republicans. The book was ignored, and Buchanan retreated into privacy. He died on June 1, 1868, at the age of 78, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and was buried in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
In 1819, Buchanan became engaged to Ann Caroline Coleman, the daughter of a wealthy iron mogul. Their engagement was an unhappy one, however, and amidst rumors that Buchanan was seeing other women, Coleman broke off the engagement. She died shortly thereafter, leaving Buchanan brokenhearted, and her family to blame him for her death, to the point that they would not let him attend her funeral. Buchanan vowed to never remarry, and he never did. When Buchanan eventually won the presidency, his niece Harriet Lane assumed the responsibilities of first lady. James Buchanan is the only bachelor president in U.S. history.
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