US Presidents
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U.S. Presidents
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George Washington
John Adams
Thomas Jefferson
James Madison
James Monroe
John Quincy Adams
Andrew Jackson
Martin Van Buren
William H. Harrison
John Tyler
James K. Polk
Zachary Taylor
Millard Fillmore
Franklin Pierce
James Buchanan
Abraham Lincoln
Andrew Johnson
Ulysses S. Grant
Rutherford B. Hayes
James A. Garfield
Chester A. Arthur
Grover Cleveland
Benjamin Harrison
William McKinley
Theodore Roosevelt
William H. Taft
Woodrow Wilson
Warren G. Harding
Calvin Coolidge
Herbert Hoover
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Harry S Truman
Dwight D. Eisenhower
John F. Kennedy
Lyndon B. Johnson
Richard M. Nixon
Gerald R. Ford
Jimmy Carter
Ronald Reagan
George Bush
Bill Clinton
George W. Bush
Barack Obama
Donald Trump


Key Dates

1834 James Buchanan was elected to the U.S. Senate.

1845 President Polk appointed James Buchanan as Secretary of State.

1848 James Buchanan purchased the "Wheatland." It was a lovely estate in Wheatland, PA. It is now a national park.

1856 Buchanan was elected President.

1857 Dread Scott, a slave, sued owner for freedom.

1859 John Brown’s raid failed.

1860 Abraham Lincoln was elected President. South Carolina secedes from the Union.

1868 James Buchanan died.



James Buchanan
1857 - 1861
Fifteenth President

James was born in Cove Gap, Penn. on April 15, 1791.

He was one of six Presidents born in a log cabin.

Buchanan, the only bachelor president, almost married in 1819. His fiancee, Anne Caroline Coleman, broke off the engagement and died a week later, probably by suicide. Buchanan maintained an ironclad silence about the relationship throughout the rest of his life.

He was six feet tall.

His niece Harriet Lane Johnson served as his "First Lady" at social functions in the White House.

He served four terms in the Senate before he became President.

James Buchanan was one of three Presidents who didn't have any children.

One of his favorite vegetables was cabbage.

James was the first President born in Pennsylvania and the only President born in Pennsylvania.

In 1831 he was appointed to be Minister to Russia by President Jackson.

President Buchanan was a Democrat.

James Buchanan's Vice President, John Breckenridge (1857-1861). Breckenridge later served in the Confederate Army.

Buchanan traveled more outside of the United States than he did in the United States. Besides a trip to Kentucky most of his travel was along the eastern seashore from Boston to Virginia.

James was a Presbyterian.

Buchanan served in the War of 1812.


James Buchanan., Library of Congress.


 

James Buchanan was the first to have his inauguration photographed.

In 1848 Buchanan bout Wheatland, a country estate located on the outskirts of Lancaster. PA. He was later called "Sage of Heartland" mush like Henry Clay was called the "Sage of Ashland. Buchanan enjoyed living there. He often had guest and parties. At the parties he would sometimes serve "Old J. B. Whiskey." His guest thought it was named after James Buchanan (B. J.) but it wasn't.

In 1855, when he ran for President he didn't give any speeches during the campaign. (Presidential Candidates didn't start traveling and campaigning until after the Civil War.) He did send out numerous letters to people.

At his inauguration he wore a black suit made of French cloth. It was somewhat plain on the outside. However, on the inside it had a design of 21 stars representing the 31 one states at that time. He also wore a satin flowered vest.

There was a delay the parade to the Congressional building. They realized that the out going president, President Pierce the planning committee had forgotten him. The had to go back and get him.

He said the object of his administration was to stop the agitation of slavery by the north.

James Buchanan knew a lot about being president. He had had contact with every president from James Monroe to Franklin Pierce. He had served as a congress man, senator, cabinet officer, ambassador, and party leader before becoming president.

He has been ranked as the least effective president on several list created by historians.

President Buchanan only served one term.

When the Prince of Wales visited the White House, he brought so many people with him that Buchanan had to sleep in the hall.

James Buchanan suffered from an eye disorder that caused him to cock his head to the left and close an eye.

He liked to give sauerkraut and mashed potato parties.

Buchanan got on the nerves of some of the cabinet members so they set up a tour of the the South to get him out of town.

John Browns raid took place on October 17, 1859. (More information on the raid.) This furthered the split between the pro and anti slavery states.

In 1860, Buchanan vetoed the Homestead Act. It would have put land west on sale for 25 cents per acre. This upset the western states who wanted to expand the United States and this would bring more "free" states into the Union. The South was against the bill and the north for it. Some believe that this veto was the reason that Lincoln was elected in 1861,

Queen Victoria sent greetings to Buchanan over the first Atlantic cable. It was a first message sent on the cable and a first cable to a U.S. President and Queen Victoria.

Americans were singing a new tune called Jingle Bells during his tenure.

President Buchanan owned one of the biggest dogs ever to live in the White House. He had a Newfoundland named Lara. He was also sent a herd of elephants which he gave to the zoo.

There were rumors that Buchanan supported the secessionists. Some people called him a traitor. This was not true.

 

1861 Buchanan sent a message to Congees blaming the blame for the Southern States wanting to withdraw from the union on the antislavery agitators.

Southern Senators wanted Buchanan to promise he would withdraw the troops from Fort Sumter of pledge to not send any aid to the fort. Buchanan did not agree to it.

When President Buchanan left the White House he left a note for his successor, Abe Lincoln. "My dear sir, if you are as happy on entering the White House as I on leaving, you are a happy man indeed." (Some say he said it to Lincoln.)

He and Lincoln drove together to Lincoln's inauguration at the capitol.

James Buchanan died on June 1, 1868 at approximately 8:30 a.m. in Lancaster, Penn. He was 77 years and 39 days old. It was estimated that over 20,00 people attended his funeral.

Quotes from James Buchanan:

Buchanan did not like being Secretary of State when he left the job he said: “I would for any consideration return to the State Department.”

When discussing Fort Sumter and South Carolina taking the fort, Buchanan stated: "The Union must and shall be preserved by all Constitutional means.?

"The ballot box is the surest arbiter of disputes among freemen." Fourth Message to Congress, Dec. 3, 1860

Henry Clay once said about then Senator Buchanan who use to write letters rather than debate: "Oh damn him, he deserves it. He writes letters."

This is a quote about James Buchanan made by a friend of his, Ben Parley Poore "Never did a wily politician more industriously plot and plan to secure a nomination than Mr. Buchanan did, in his still hunt for the Presidency."

"By God sir, I made James Buchanan, and by God I will unmake him!" Stephen Douglas, 1857

 

President James Buchanan: A Biography was used as one of the resources for this page. (You can read reviews of this book by clicking on the image or title.

 

Topics


NEW Facts about the Inaugurations

Nicknames for the Presidents

First Ladies

Presidents who died in office

Assassinations and Assassination Attempts

Vice Presidents who became Presidents

Presidential Salaries

Oldest living Presidents

Presidents' Military Service

Preidential Timeline of Key Dates

Books about U.S. President

Pets of the Presidents

Chronlogical (by Year) Order
Of the Presidents.



Sources:

The Presidents of the United States. 22 September 2004: http://www.whitehouse.gov/history/presidents/

Davis, Gibbs and Ilus. David A. Johnson. Wackiest White House Pets. New York: Scholastic Press, October 2004

James, Barber and Amy Pastan. Smithsonian Presidents and First Ladies. New York: DK Publishing, 2002

Kane, Joseph Natan. Facts about the Presidents from Washington to Johnson. New York: H.W. Wilson Company, 1964.

McCullough, Noah, The Essential Book of Presidential Trivia. Random House, USA, 2006

Pine, Joslyn, Presidential Wit and Wisdom: Memorable Quotes from George Washington to Barack Obama . Dover Publications, Mineola, New York, 2009

Huffington Post web site.

Lang, Stephen, The Complete Book of Presidential Trivia, Pelican Publishing Company, Gretna, 2011

O'Reilly, Bill, and Dugard, Martin, Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination that Changed America Forever, Henry Holt and Company, New York, 2011

St. George, Judith In the Line of Fire: Presidents' Lives at Stake , Scholastic Inc. New York, 2001

In addition to these books, I have also read and have used information from those listed on my Books About Presidents page.

 


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This page was last updated on Friday, December 18, 2015

For comments or corrections email jim@anewadventure.org.