James Buchanan
15th President of the United States

(1857 - 1861)
Vice President: John C. Beckinridge
   

President: James Buchanan

Wife: Never married. The White House hostess was his niece Harriet Lane (1830-1903)

Kids: None

Pets: a Newfoundland; an eagle; an elephant

Bio: James Buchanan, (1791-1868), was the 15th President Of The United States. Buchanan was born near Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, on April 23, 1791, the second of 11 children. His father had emigrated from County Donegal, Ireland in 1783. Buchanan attended Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, from which he was graduated with honors in 1809. He studied law and was admitted to the bar in Lancaster, Pa., in 1813. In 1819, Buchanan became engaged to Ann Caroline Coleman. But a series of unhappy incidents led Ann to break the engagement, and a week later she died, a possible suicide. Buchanan never married, and was to be the only bachelor president.

Buchanan went on to serve a series of successful political positions including Congressman, minister to Russia, senator from Pennsylvania, secretary of state and minister to Great Britain. Buchanan played an important role in foreign and domestic policies, laying the groundwork for the presidency.

The conservative democrats nominated Buchanan for president in 1856. Slavery was becoming a turbulent national issue and Buchanan made his strongest stand on the issue when he signed a bill making Kansas a slave-free state in 1861. This sparked an explosion of anger in the South.

Buchanan was not a candidate for reelection in 1860. When the Civil war started, Buchanan strongly supported the Union effort. However, he retired completely from public life and remained at Wheatland until his death there on June 1, 1868.

 

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