James Buchanan. James Buchanan was the fifteenth President of the United States of America. Being in the right place at the right time is something the seemed to have worked for him in his successful campaign to become President. However, his presidential term coming at this time in history worked against him and his legacy. He was the United States Minister to the United Kingdom before becoming President in 1857. This position kept him out of a lot of hotbed issues between the North and the South leading up to the American Civil War.
James Buchanan was called a “doughface”. He was seen as a Northerner with Southern sympathies. He worked to maintain peace, however his actions angered both sides. Sothern states ended up succeeding from the Union. Buchanan felt philosophically that succession was illegal. This put him “between a rock and a hard place”. While he was against southern succession, he also believed that going to war to stop it was also illegal. Thus his actions and his inaction has led him to being ranked as one of the worst or the worst United States Presidents.
James Buchanan was born in a log cabin in Pennsylvania on April 23, 1791. He had six sisters and four brothers. Despite trouble due to his behavior, he ended up graduating with honors from Dickinson College. He went on to study law and was admitted to the bar in 1812. Although against the War of 1812, he joined a volunteer unit. He then turned to politics. He served in the U.S. House of Representatives for multiple term. He then served as Chairman of the House Committee on the Judiciary, United States Minister to Russia, United States Senator, United States Secretary of State, and previously mentioned United States Minister to the United Kingdom.
James Buchanan, although engaged at one time, never married. A niece of his, Harriet Lane, was orphaned and he adopted her. She served as the official White House hostess.
Today, there is a memorial to him in Washington, D.C. Three counties are named in his honor. While he had hoped for vindication, popular opinion was against him by the time he left office and he continues to rank low by historians. He held the highest office in the land at a very difficult time. Effort and commitment were important parts of his 77 years of life as a lawyer, diplomat, and politician. Be inspired! Have a bright day!