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James Buchanan (April 23,
1791 - June 1, 1868) was the
15th (1857-1861) President
of the United States. He was
the only President never to Order: 15th President
marry, and the only citizen
of Pennsylvania to hold that Term of Office: March 4, 1857 - March 4, 1861
office. He has been Followed: Franklin Pierce
critisized for failing to
take any positive action in Succeeded by: Abraham Lincoln
order to attempt to prevent Date of Birth April 23, 1791
the country from sliding Place of Birth: Cove Gap, Pennsylvania
into schism and civil war.
Date of Death: June 1, 1868
Some historians have Place of Death: Wheatland, Pennsylvania
speculated that Buchanan may Wife: (never married)
have been gay. These
historians point to the First Lady: Harriet Lane (niece)
unusual circumstances Occupation: lawyer
surrounding his failed
engagement to Ann Coleman, Political Party: Democrat
the fact that he never Vice President: John C. Breckinridge
married, and his very close
personal relationship with former United States Vice President William R.
King. The theory is controversial and a source of debate among Buchanan
Buchanan was a Representative and a Senator from Pennsylvania. He was born
at Cove Gap, near Mercersburg, Franklin County, Pennsylvania, on April 23,
1791. He moved to Mercersburg with his parents in 1799, was privately
tutored and then attended the village academy and was graduated from
Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pennsylvania. In 1809 he moved to Lancaster,
Pennsylvania. The same year he studied law, and was admitted to the bar in
1812 and practiced in Lancaster. He was one of the first volunteers in the
War of 1812 and served in the defense of Baltimore, Maryland. He was a
member of the Pennsylvania State House of Representatives from 1814 to 1815.
He was elected to the Seventeenth and to the four succeeding Congresses
(March 4, 1821 - March 3, 1831). He was chairman of the Committee on the
Judiciary (Twenty-first Congress). He was not a candidate for renomination
in 1830. Buchanan served as one of the managers appointed by the House of
Representatives in 1830 to conduct the impeachment proceedings against James
H. Peck, judge of the United States District Court for the District of
Missouri. Buchanan served as Minister to Russia from 1832 to 1834.
Buchanan was elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate to fill the
vacancy caused by the resignation of William Wilkins. He served from
December 6, 1834; was reelected in 1837 and 1843, and resigned on March 5,
1845, to accept a Cabinet portfolio. He was chairman of the Committee on
Foreign Relations (Twenty-fourth through Twenty-sixth Congresses).
Buchanan served as Secretary of State in the Cabinet of President James Polk
from 1845 to 1849, then as Minister to Great Britain from 1853 to 1856. He
was elected as a Democrat President of the United States in 1856 and served
from March 4, 1857, to March 4, 1861. He retired to his home "Wheatland,"
near Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where he died June 1, 1868. He was interred in
Woodward Hill Cemetery, in Lancaster.
Supreme Court appointments
* Nathan Clifford - 1858