Lessons on American Presidents.
Ready-To-Print Handouts, MP3 & Online Quizzes - James Buchanan


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James Buchanan, Jr. was born the second of 11 children in 1791 into a Pennsylvania family. He was gifted as a debater and in law with honors in 1809. He was to the bar in 1812. He was the 15th President of the United States, from 1857 to 1861. He is the only president never to have married and the last to be born in the 18th .

He was five times to the House of Representatives; then, after an interlude as Minister to Russia, served for a in the Senate. He became President Polk's Secretary of State and President Pierce's Minister to Great Britain. Service helped to bring him the Democratic in 1856 because it had left him out of involvement in domestic controversies.

When Buchanan became President, the country was becoming divided. He failed to realize how the North-South divisions were over the slavery question. He never understood that the North would not laws that favored the South. When the Dred Scott decision arrived, stating Congress had no constitutional to deprive persons of their property rights in slaves, the North was .

In 1860 his Democratic Party into northern and southern wings. There was a power in the party and several Cabinet members resigned. He appointed northerners and this lost him almost all the he had in the south. In 1861 he sent a war ship to reinforce Fort Sumter in South Carolina. The state at it and it returned to New York, making Buchanan look . He died in 1868, aged 77.

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