James Buchanan

Fifteenth President 1857-1861


Born: April 23, 1791 at Cove Gap near Mercersburg, Pennslyvania.

Education: Graduated from Dickinson College at Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

Occupation: Lawyer, diplomat, public official, served briefly in War of 1812.

Religion: Presbyterian.

Family life: A bachelor. James Buchanan was the only President who never married.

Political career: Served in Pennsylvania legislature, then became a Jacksonian Democrat. Representative in Congress from Pennsylvania, 1821-31; senator, 1834-45. Was minister to Russia and Great Britain; served as Polk's secretary of state. Hoped for Democratic presidential nomination in 1844, 1848, 1852; elected in 1856.

Highlights of his presidency: Failed to move decisively on secession of South Carolina, taking narrow view of presidential power.

Appearance: Tall, stately, stiffly formal in the high stock he wore around his jowls.

Died: June 1, 1868 at Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Buried: Woodward Hill Cemetery in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.


  • Britannicas Biography
  • Groliers Biography
  • Inaugural Address
  • America Votes Presidential Campaign Memorabilia from the Duke University
  • Wheatland Historic Country Residence of President James Buchanan
  • Civil War in Mercersburg, birthplace of 15th President James Buchanan



    George Washington * James Buchanan * Warren G. Harding * John Adams
    Abraham Lincoln * Calvin Coolidge * Thomas Jefferson * Andrew Johnson
    Herbert Hoover * James Madison * Ulysses S. Grant * Franklin D. Roosevelt
    James Monroe * Rutherford B. Hayes * Harry S Truman
    John Quincy Adams * James A. Garfield * Dwight D. Eisenhower * Andrew Jackson Chester A. Arthur * John F. Kennedy * Martin Van Buren * Grover Cleveland
    Lyndon B. Johnson * William Henry Harrison * Benjamin Harrison * Richard M. Nixon
    John Tyler * Grover Cleveland * Gerald Ford * James K. Polk * William McKinley
    James E. Carter * Zachary Taylor * Theodore Roosevelt * Ronald W. Reagan
    Millard Fillmore * William Howard Taft * George Bush * Franklin Pierce
    Woodrow Wilson * William J. Clinton



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