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James Buchanan

 Related Terms

• James K. Polk
• 
Compromise of 1850
• 
Dred Scott Decision
• 
Abraham Lincoln

 

Definition: 15th president. He was president when Southern states began seceding from the Union. The only president never to marry, Buchanan began his political career in the House of Representatives, representing Pennsylvania. He also served as Minister to Russia and Great Britain. He was James K. Polk's Secretary of State. As president, he failed to keep the spirit of compromise and peace that filled the decade since the Compromise of 1850. the Supreme Court delivered the Dred Scott Decision during Buchanan's presidency. His own Democratic Party couldn't agree on slavery or much else and split into two factions, each of which nominated its own candidate. (Neither of these was Buchanan!) This split of the Democratic vote ensured the election of the Republican Party candidate, Abraham Lincoln. Just weeks after the election, with Buchanan a lame duck, Southern states began to secede.

Related Resources:
James Buchanan
Find out more about the 15th president.

Elsewhere on the Web:
ThinkQuest Biography
This focus on the life of James Buchanan was put together by students just like you.

Fun Facts about James Buchanan
You're sure to find some facts you didn't know!

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