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President James Buchanan

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President James Buchanan
1120 Marietta Avenue
Lancaster, Pennsylvania 17573

Our fifteenth president was born in Cove Gap, Pennsylvania on April 23, 1791. At the age of five he and his family moved to Mercersburg, Pennsylvania. His family consisted of very successful merchants. As a child he studied at Old Stone Academy and entered Dickinson College in 1807. After studying law he was admitted to the bar in 1812.

James Buchanan was elected to the House of Representatives five times, and was appointed Minister to Russia by Andrew Jackson. Afterwards, he served on the Senate for ten years. He became the Secretary of State for President Polk and the Minister to Great Britain for President Pierce. In 1856, he won the Democratic nomination and was elected President of the United States.

In the beginning of Buchananís presidency, the Dred Scott Case stated that slaves were considered property. Although Buchanan was against slavery, he believed in the opinion of the Supreme Court. In 1857, an economic depression hit the country, which Buchanan made no attempt to fix. At this time, the county was on the verge of Civil War and the southern states were threatening secession.

By the new election year, Buchanan decided not to run for another term because he knew he had no support and he could not stop the war. Abraham Lincoln was elected to be the new president and the South immediately seceded. Buchanan had been hoping for a compromise but had no such luck. He sent the ship, Star of the West, to Fort Sumter and replaced his Cabinet with northerners. Buchanan then left office with the country divided.

James Buchanan retired in Wheatland, Pennsylvania after his presidency, where he died seven years later on June 1, 1868 of pneumonia. He was buried in Woodward Hill Cemetery, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.



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