Was James Buchanan that bad a president?

Apachewarlord

Ad Honorem
Jun 2012
5,689
Hippy town U.S.A.!
Yes, he was quite bad as a President. It may be and arguably should be the Presidential ideal to defuse a civil war, not to start one or to finish one. But what he did was neither present a strong front to deter secession nor simply letting them go. He had the worst of all worlds as an indecisive conniving politician. He's compared to Chamberlain for a reason, but that's unjust: Neville Chamberlain had the guts to go into WWII instead of perpetuating his policy of appeasement to his very last phase of office and then suddenly and belatedly discovering a backbone.
In the end, Buchanan did nothing to prevent the greatest crisis in American history.
 

Viperlord

Ad Honorem
Aug 2010
8,109
VA
What he should of done then?
Oh I don't know, he could have started by not encouraging the slaveocracy by supporting illegitimate and unjust measures like the Lecompton Constitution, which was so patently unjust that even some anti-abolitionists were disgusted.
 

Fiver

Ad Honorem
Jul 2012
3,760
The oncoming of the Civil War might well have been nigh-impossible to prevent, and Buchanan could be forgiven for it -- if he had even tried to seriously avert it. He did not, and even supported trying to shove slavery down the throat of Kansas, with the astoundingly unjust Lecompton Constitution. .
Buchanan also strongly influenced the Supreme Court to make the Dred Scott Decision. In this, like his support of the LeCompton Constitution, Buchanan was trying to avoid a Civil War by giving the South everything they wanted. This horrible misjudgement on Buchanan's part significantly increased the chances of the Civil War happening.
 
Mar 2011
1,986
Bulgaria
I am very curios as to what happened to his fiancee. He was engaged to Ann, but then rumors started going that he was sleeping around, so she broke the engagement and died few months later because of hysteria. Buchanan became depressed and swore he would never marry because, like he said "I feel happiness has fled from me forever"
 

Vintersorg

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
5,938
Belgium
He was absolutely a bad president.
Don't get me started on his actions in "Bleeding Kansas".
Sending someone to reconcile the two factions is a good idea, but not when you send someone who will most certainly side with one of the factions. Even less so if that faction is the minority faction in the issue.
And his efforts to pass the Lecompton constitution were just disgusting.
 

betgo

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,328
Buchanan tried to get Lincoln elected senator. He sponsored rival Democratic legislative candidates in Illinois after falling out with Douglas over the Lecompton constitution.
 

Patito de Hule

Ad Honorem
Jan 2009
3,333
Minneapolis, MN
Pretty much a do-nothing pres. His biggest accomplishment was getting his picture on the 15¢ stamp, and that happened in the FDR administration.

 

Kotromanic

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
4,957
Iowa USA
First class postage was four cents in the '30s so thankfully Buchanan's face was not routinely affixed to letters. :eek: