Buchanan was born on April 23, 1791, in a log cabin at Cove
Gap, a few miles outside Mercersburg, Pennsylvania. His father was James
Buchanan, sr. (1761-1821) and his mother was Elizabeth Speer Buchanan
He was the oldest of eight children to live maturity. He
had four sisters and two brothers- Mrs. Jane Lane, Mrs. Maria Magaw Johnson
Yates, Mrs. Sarah Huston, Mrs. Harriet Henry, William Speer Buchanan, George
Washington Buchanan, The reverend Edward Young Buchanan.
James Buchanan never married therefore he has no direct
descendents. He was the only U.S.
President to remain a Bachelor. His orphaned niece Harriet Lane, whom he raised
from childhood, served as official white house hostess during the Buchanan
Buchanan learned the fundamentals at common schools and
studied Latin and Greek at Old Stone Academy in Mercersburg, PA. He was admitted
to Dickinson College in Carlisle in 1807. After a few discipline problems he
managed to graduate in 1809. In December of 1809 Buchanan moved to Lancaster to
study law under James Hopkins and was admitted to the bar in 1812.
Buchanan served in the military during the war of 1812. He
also held a few different public positions before the presidency- Member of the
Pennsylvania House of Representatives (1815-1816), U.S. Representative
(1821-1831), U.S. Minister to Russia (1832-1833), U.S. Senator (1834-1845),
Secretary of State (1845-1849) and Minister to Great Britain (1853-1856).
He was nominated to the Presidency in 1856 as democrats
convened in Cincinnati in June 1856. His Vice President was John Cabell
Breckinridge (1821-1875). Buchanan inaugural address was on March 4, 1857.
In June 1, 1868, James Buchanan died of pneumonia and inflammation of the lining of the heart in Wheatland estate, Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
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