POTUS: Presidents of the United States

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Portrait, James Buchanan

James Buchanan

15th President of the United States
(March 4, 1857 to March 3, 1861)

Nickname: "Old Buck"

Born: April 23, 1791, in Cove Gap (near Mercersburg), Pennsylvania
Died: June 1, 1868, at Wheatland (near Lancaster, Pennsylvania)

Father: James Buchanan
Mother: Elizabeth Speer Buchanan
Married: Never married. The White House hostess was his niece Harriet Lane (1830-1903)
Children: None

Religion: Presbyterian
Education: Graduated from Dickinson College (1809)
Occupation: Lawyer
Political Party: Democrat
Other Government Positions:

  • Member of Pennsylvania House of Representatives, 1815-16
  • Member of U.S. House of Representatives, 1821-31
  • Minister to Russia, 1832-34
  • United States Senator, 1834-45
  • Secretary of State, 1845-49 (under tiny U.S. flag Polk)
  • Minister to England, 1853-56

Presidential Salary: $25,000/year

Presidential Election Results:
Year Popular Votes Electoral Votes
1856 James Buchanan 1,832,955 174
John C. Fremont 1,339,932 114
tiny U.S. flag Millard Fillmore 871,731 8

Vice President: John C. Breckinridge (1857-61)

Cabinet:

Secretary of State
Lewis Cass (1857-60)
Jeremiah S. Black (1860-61)
Secretary of the Treasury
Howell Cobb (1857-60)
Philip F. Thomas (1860-61)
John A. Dix (1861)
Secretary of War
John B. Floyd (1857-60)
Joseph Holt (1861)
Attorney General
Jeremiah S. Black (1857-60)
Edwin M. Stanton (1860-61)
Postmaster General
Aaron V. Brown (1857-59)
Joseph Holt (1859-61)
Horatio King (1861)
Secretary of the Navy
Isaac Toucey (1857-61)
Secretary of the Interior
Jacob Thompson (1857-61)

Supreme Court Appointments:

Associate Justice
Nathan Clifford (1858-81)

Notable Events:

Internet Biographies:

James Buchanan -- from The Presidents of the United States of America
Compiled by the White House.
James Buchanan -- from American Presidents: Life Portraits -- C-SPAN
Biographical information, trivia, key events, video, and other reference materials. Website created to accompany C-SPAN's 20th Anniversary Television Series, American Presidents: Life Portraits.
James Buchanan -- from The American President
From the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia, in addition to information on the Presidents themselves, they have first lady and cabinet member biographies, listings of presidential staff and advisers, and timelines detailing significant events in the lives of each administration.
James Buchanan -- from the Lancaster County Historical Society
Brief biography from the Wheatland mansion's Web site.
James Buchanan's Obituary -- from Dead Presidents
The text from page 5 of The New York Times, June 2, 1868. Placed on the web by Manus Hand.

Historical Documents:

Inaugural Address (1857)

Other Internet Resources:

Wheatland
The home of James Buchanan located near Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Tourist information, biographies of Buchanan and Harriet Lane, and information on the mansion.

Points of Interest:


Previous President: tiny U.S. flag Franklin Pierce | Next President: tiny U.S. flag Abraham Lincoln


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