James Buchanan

James Buchanan (1791-1868)

James Buchanan was born on Pennsylvania as son of Irish immigrants. Buchanan, just like Pierce, started off with a lawyer career. Being a talented speaker finally lead him into politics.

Initially being a member of the federalists, Buchanan later joined the Democrats as his own party split up in the 1820’s. Buchanan was, among other things, US ambassador in St. Petersburg, US Senator and President Polk’s Secretary of State. He was nominated as a presidential candidate in 1844 but decided to rather support Polk, who he shared many views with, for example the support of the Manifest Destiny and the American Imperialism.

In 1856 Buchanan was nominated for a second time and won the election. During his presidency, however, he did not manage to settle the conflict between the South and the North concerning the slavery issue. He tried to both calm down the slavery opponents in the North just as well as pushing the Fugitive Slave Act at the same time.

In December of 1860 the first southern state, South Carolina, split form the Union. In the following year 17 other states would follow that example. Buchanan, highly opposing this split, could not do much against it. Important people started resigning from their position and the war now seemed unavoidable. Even in the years after his presidency, the congress, the Republican Party, President Lincoln and the US military still scoffed at Buchanan for not being able to anticipate the separation of North and South.

James Buchanan was the only President who was not married and never did so. His niece, therefore, took over the position of the first lady.

"I like the noise of democracy." (James Buchanan)