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