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James Buchanan: Fifteenth president of the United States from 1857 - 1861

James Buchanan circa post 1855

See page for author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

James Buchanan was the 15th president of the United States who served from 1857 - 1861. Though the new Republican party that had formed was a big challenger, Buchanan, the Democratic candidate was able to win in the 1856 election. Just a few days after taking office, the infamous Dred Scott decision was decided, casting a shadow on Buchanan's presidency. Buchanan was president when the 1860 election was decided which caused the south to begin seceding, and Buchanan did not respond. It is reported that Buchanan told president-elect Abraham Lincoln, “If you are as happy in entering the White House as I shall feel on returning to Wheatland [Buchanan's home], you are a happy man.”


Buchanan was born on April 23, 1791 in Cove Gap, Pennsylvania.


Buchanan died on June 1, 1868 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

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