James Buchanan Facts
15th President of the United States
1857 - 1861
April 23, 1791
June 1, 1868
Time Past for Debate
(A President James Buchanan Poem)
He claimed that slavery was a right
As president, he would not fight.
The highest court said, "That's all right.
It's up to every state."
The South was happy, that is true.
Buchanan did not have a clue.
The Union soon would be quite through,
The time past for debate.
The anti-slavery folks were mad.
The Northern states felt they'd been had.
The situation grew quite bad
And sealed the nation's fate.
The Union's strength was soon impeded.
Seven Southern states seceded.
Real strong action sure was needed.
But it was too late.
Poem and Art by Denise Rodgers
Two days after James Buchanan's inauguration, the Supreme Court delivered the Dred Scott decision, saying that Congress had no right to deny slave ownership in the territories. As new states joined the Union, the North wanted them to be free states, and the South wanted to expand slavery. By the time President Buchanan left office, seven Southern states had seceded from the Union and the nation was on the brink of Civil War.
* James Buchanan was born to a wealthy Pennsylvanian farm family in 1791. He graduated Dickinson College, and was known as a gifted debater.
* Buchanan was elected five times to the House of Representatives.
* Buchanan was Minister to Russia during the Andrew Jackson administration.
* He served for ten years in the United States Senate.
* Buchanan was Secretary of State under President Polk.
* He served as Minister to Great Britain during the Franklin Pierce administration.
* Buchanan was nominated as a presidential candidate in 1856, as he was a safe choice during the bitter political climate of the time. Because he'd spent so much time abroad, he had not made his views of the North-South, Free State-Slavery State split.
* As President, Buchanan denied the legal right of states to secede, but felt there was no legal action the Federal government could take. He preferred compromise, even as Southern States began seceding from the Union.
* By the time President Buchanan left office, seven states had seceded from the union, including Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Texas. These states elected Jefferson Davis president.
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