James Buchanan


Forum Staff
Oct 2009
Lincoln's predecessor is generally considered one of the worst presidents in American history, for his weak-willed approach to the rising Secessionist crisis. What is Historum's take on this somewhat unappealing personality?

Buchanan has also been (like many historical figures) accused of being secretly homosexual, because he was our first (and so far, only) bachelor president. Does anyone have any information or theories on why he never married?
Was he, perchance, any relation to former American dentist turned 20th century movie character actor, Edgar Buchanan, who specialised in playing curemudgeonly authority figures like the judge in the 1961 John Wayne western film ''The Comancheros''?


Ad Honoris
Mar 2009
I haven't studied President Buchanan that much, but from
my readings on him, here's my thinking.
First, it was obvious that he really never wanted to be president,
and was more effective and comfortable, being a member of
congress. The Democratic Party was split, or maybe the whole
Republican & Know-Nothing Party, were split enough to cause
one messy election, no matter who was running.
Buchanan seemed to put a lot of faith & trust in letting the
Supreme Court decide issues that he could easily agree with. I
think he does get dumped on a lot and made a scapegoat by many,
for not being a Jackson type and using and creating the muscle
of his office. His Democratic victory in 56' set the stage for the
Republican win in 60', and then we all know what happened next.
It was a tough time for anyone to be president and crazed for anyone
to want to be president.


Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
Buchanan's attempt to vilify the Mormans as a deflection to the slave issue was one of America's lamest episodes. :(
... and villifying the abolitionists as the sole cause of the slavery controversy.

I agree with TJ that he was in a tough situation. There wasn't much he could do (and he excelled at that)


Ad Honoris
Mar 2009
I agree with TJ that he was in a tough situation. There wasn't much he could do (and he excelled at that)
I always take a deep breath when dealing with some events in
History. Today we can see what a president should or shouldn't have
done, but they didn't know what, if any moves they made, would
make a situation worse or better.

It was Historical-Jenga for them.

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