American Presidents

Read a letter from President Buchanan

Portrait Gallery

Did You Know?

• He was the only president never to be married.
• During his term, the John Brown raid occurred on Harpers Ferry.
• During his term, the Lincoln-Douglas debates were being held in Illinois.
• During his term, the Confederate States of America declared their independence.


Key Events in the Administration

James Buchanan
(April 23, 1791 - June 1, 1868)

Life Facts

For more videos on this president, search Book TV, Booknotes and the
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First Lady: Harriet Lane, Niece
Wife's Maiden Name: None None
Number of Children: None
Education Level: College
School Attended: Dickinson College
Religion: Presbyterian
Profession: Military, Lawyer
Military Service: No official rank

Public Service:
Dates of Presidency: 3/4/1857 - 3/3/1861
Presidency Number: 15
Number of Terms: 1
Why Presidency Ended: Not nominated
Party: Democratic
His Vice President(s): John C. Breckinridge
Cabinet Service: Secretary of State (James K. Polk, 1845-1849)
Senator: Pennsylvania (1834-1845)
House of Representatives: Pennsylvania (1821-1831)
State Legislative Service: PA (1814-1815)
Other Offices: Minister to Russia; Minister to Great Britain
Methodology and Resources

Presidential Places

Birthplace: Buchanan Historic Site
Gravesite: Woodward Hill Cemetery
Other Sites: Wheatland

Reference Material

Inaugural Address
Related Links
C-SPAN in the Classroom
Papers: Pennsylvania Historical Society - Philadelphia, PA, 215-732-6200
Watch American Presidents Programs from
C-SPAN's Archives

Programming includes:

• James Buchanan Life Portrait: From Wheatland - Lancaster, PA
Guests included: Karl Reisner, history teacher, Mercersberg Academy and board member, Mercersberg Historical Society; Richard Keller, professor emeritus, Millersville University; Steve Trapnell, tour coordinator, Wheatland; and Kathy Bratton, executive director, Wheatland Watch | Order Videotape
• Karl Reisner on Buchanan’s childhood home in Mercersburg, PA Watch
• Edna Medford on political climate during Buchanan administration Watch

 • Don Ritchie on Buchanan’s Senate and Secretary of State careers Watch

• Micheal Birkner and Fred Binder on Buchanan’s life and influence on American foreign policy Watch

• Reenactment of Abraham Lincoln’s “House Divided” speech Watch
• Mary Panzer, The National Portrait Gallery, on presidential photography in the 19th century Watch  

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