Facts About President James Buchanan
James Buchanan was the 15th President of the United States, serving from 1857 to 1861. Despite holding the highest elected office in the land, Buchanan is often ranked as one of the country’s worst presidents. Here are some facts about his life and career:
- Buchanan was the only president to never marry. He was engaged to a woman named Ann Coleman early in his life, but she broke off the engagement and died shortly after. Some historians speculate that her death may have contributed to Buchanan’s political ambition.
- Buchanan had a long and accomplished career in public service before being elected president. He served as a member of Congress, ambassador to Russia and Great Britain, and Secretary of State under President James K. Polk.
- Buchanan was one of the few presidents who never had any children. He was very close with his niece, Harriet Lane, who served as his First Lady during his presidency.
- Buchanan is widely criticized for his handling of the secession crisis leading up to the Civil War. Many historians argue that he was indecisive and weak in the face of mounting tensions between the North and South.
- Despite his lackluster presidency, Buchanan was a skilled diplomat and negotiator. He helped to negotiate a number of important treaties during his time in government, including the Oregon Treaty with Great Britain and the Ostend Manifesto with Spain.
- Buchanan was the last president to be born before the Revolution. He was born in 1791 in Pennsylvania, and served in the War of 1812 as a young man.
- Buchanan was a loyal member of the Democratic Party, and was nominated as their candidate for president in 1856. He won the election, defeating Republican candidate John C. Fremont.
- After leaving office, Buchanan retired to his estate in Pennsylvania. He continued to be involved in politics, writing several books defending his administration’s record and offering advice to future politicians.
Despite his mixed legacy as president, James Buchanan remains an important figure in American history. His long and distinguished career in public service helped to shape the country in the years leading up to the Civil War.