President Buchanan | 15th US PRESIDENT
US President: 1857-1861
US Vice President: John Breckenridge
Political Party: Democratic
Birth: April 23, 1791 at Cove Gap, Pennsylvania
Death: June 1, 1868 (aged 77) at Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Education: Dickinson College
First Ladies: He never married *Harriet Lane served as First Lady
15th President of the United States (1857 – 1861)
United States Minister to the United Kingdom (1853 – 1856)
17th United States Secretary of State (1845 – 1849)
United States Senator from Pennsylvania (1834 – 1845)
United States Minister to Russia (1832 – 1833)
Facts about James Buchanan
First, in 1819, Buchanan became engaged to Ann Caroline Coleman, the daughter of a wealthy iron mogul. Second, their engagement was an unhappy one, however, and amidst rumors that Buchanan was seeing other women, Coleman broke off the engagement. She died shortly thereafter, leaving Buchanan brokenhearted, and her family to blame him for her death, to the point that they would not let him attend her funeral.
- It is theory that Anne’s death was to deflect awkward questions about his sexuality and bachelorhood.
- In 1866 he published a memoir, in which he laid blame for the war on abolitionists and Republicans.
- In his retirement, Buchanan devoted much of his time to defending his handling of events leading to the Civil War, for which he was ultimately blamed.
- He was called a Doughface for his views on slavery and abolition.
- An active Freemason, he was the Master of Masonic Lodge No. 43 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and a District Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania.
- When Buchanan eventually won the presidency, his niece Harriet Lane assumed the responsibilities of first lady.
Moreover, multiple portraits showed the six-foot Buchanan almost always cocking his head to the left, as a defect in one of his eyes made him tilt his head in a perpetual attitude of courteous deference and attentive interest. Ophthalmologists today believe he may have suffered from exodeviation, a form of wandering eye.
- James Buchanan is the only bachelor president in U.S. history.
Finally, on April 12, 1861, a little over a month after Buchanan left office and retired to Wheatland, Confederate forces fired on Fort Sumter in South Carolina and the Civil War began. Also, Buchanan supported Lincolns policies and the Union during the war.
James Buchanan Childhood
James Buchanan was born in Cove Gap, Pennsylvania, on April 23, 1791. His father, James Sr., was a well-to-do merchant and farmer, and his mother, Elizabeth, intelligent and well-read. As a young boy, Buchanan went to school at the Old Stone Academy in his village, and later, Dickinson College, where he was nearly suspended for bad behavior before finally graduating in 1809.
Finally, after graduating from college, Buchanan moved to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where he studied law. Shortly thereafter, he enlisted in the military at the start of the War of 1812 and participated in the defense of Baltimore.
Where is James Buchanan buried?
He was interred in Woodward Hill Cemetery in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
How did James Buchanan die?
Finally, Buchanan caught a cold in May 1868, which quickly worsened due to his advanced age. He died on June 1, 1868, from respiratory failure at the age of 77 at his home at Wheatland, Pennsylvania.