James Buchanan (1791)
James Buchanan, the 15th President of the United States (1857-1861), was born in Mercersburg, Pennsylvania. After graduating from college, he established a successful law practice.
The wealthy and conservative Buchanan spent forty years in public service, as a congressman, senator, Minister to Russia under President Jackson, Secretary of State under President Polk, and Minster to England under President Pierce. As President, Buchanan lacked the energy and decisiveness that was required to lead a country torn by the issue of slavery. After the Dred Scott decision of 1857, a storm of protest erupted against the Supreme Court and the Buchanan administration. As southern states began to separate from the Union, Buchanan maintained that these slave states had no legal right to secede; yet he felt that the government had no right to intervene in the states' rebellion.
After leaving office in 1861, Buchanan retired to his family home in Lancaster, Pennsylvania where he died in 1868.
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This page presents short biographies of more than 200 famous Americans drawn from our unit, "The 50 States." These personalities are arranged by theme.
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|Gutzon Borglum||Walt Disney||Jabez Gorham|
|Matt Groening||William Hanna||Marsden Hartley|
|Winslow Homer||Peter Hurd||Hank Ketcham|
|Bill Mauldin||Jackson Pollock||Howard Pyle|
|Norman Rockwell||Charles Schulz||Gilbert Stuart|
|Frank Lloyd Wright||Andrew Wyeth|
|Phineas Taylor "P.T." Barnum||Clyde Barrow||John Wilkes Booth|
|Butch Cassidy||William "Buffalo Bill" Cody||Davy Crockett|
|Jesse James||Evel Knievel||Harland David "Colonel" Sanders|
|Jefferson R. "Soapy" Smith|
|Benny Benson||Sitting Bull||Cesar Chavez|
|John Dewey||Geronimo||Crazy Horse|
|Jesse Jackson||Chief Joseph||Martin Luther King, Jr.|
|Queen Lydia Liliuokalani||Russell Means||Osceola|
|Elizabeth Peratrovich||Sacagawea||Chief Washakie|
|Booker T. Washington||Jack Wilson Wovoka|
Pioneers and "Firsts":
Politicians & Activists:
|Hank Aaron||Andre Agassi||Danny Ainge|
|Johnny Bench||Yogi Berra||Paul "Bear" Bryant|
|Dale Earnhart||Lou Gehrig||Eric Heiden|
|Michael Jordan||Evel Knievel||Phil Knight|
|Joe Reddington||Mary Lou Retton||Picabo Street|
|Jesse Ventura||Jerry West|
Writers & Poets: