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James Buchanan

15th President of the United States
(March 4, 1857 to March 3, 1861)

Nickname: "Old Buck"

Born: April 23, 1791, in Cove Gap (near Mercersburg), Pennsylvania
Died: June 1, 1868, at Wheatland (near Lancaster, Pennsylvania)

Father: James Buchanan
Mother: Elizabeth Speer Buchanan
Married: Never married. The White House hostess was his niece Harriet Lane (1830-1903)
Children: None

Religion: Presbyterian
Education: Graduated from Dickinson College (1809)
Occupation: Lawyer
Political Party: Democrat
Other Government Positions:

  • Member of Pennsylvania House of Representatives, 1815-16

  • Member of U.S. House of Representatives, 1821-31

  • Minister to Russia, 1832-34

  • United States Senator, 1834-45

  • Secretary of State, 1845-49 (under tiny U.S. flag Polk)

  • Minister to England, 1853-56

Presidential Salary: $25,000/year

Presidential Election Results:



Popular Votes

Electoral Votes


James Buchanan



John C. Fremont



tiny U.S. flag Millard Fillmore



Vice President: John C. Breckinridge (1857-61)


Secretary of State

Lewis Cass (1857-60)

Jeremiah S. Black (1860-61)

Secretary of the Treasury

Howell Cobb (1857-60)

Philip F. Thomas (1860-61)

John A. Dix (1861)

Secretary of War

John B. Floyd (1857-60)

Joseph Holt (1861)

Attorney General

Jeremiah S. Black (1857-60)

Edwin M. Stanton (1860-61)

Postmaster General

Aaron V. Brown (1857-59)

Joseph Holt (1859-61)

Horatio King (1861)

Secretary of the Navy

Isaac Toucey (1857-61)

Secretary of the Interior

Jacob Thompson (1857-61)

Notable Events:

Internet Biographies:

James Buchanan -- from The Presidents of the United States of America

Compiled by the White House.

James Buchanan -- from Table of Presidents and Vice Presidents of the United States - MSN Encarta

Grolier Online has created this resource from its collection of print articles in Encyclopedia Americana. Contains a full biography, written by Philip S. Klein of Pennsylvania State University, along with suggestions for further reading.

James Buchanan -- from The American President

From the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia, in addition to information on the Presidents themselves, they have first lady and cabinet member biographies, listings of presidential staff and advisers, and timelines detailing significant events in the lives of each administration.

James Buchanan -- from the James Buchanan Foundation

Brief biography from the Wheatland mansion's Web site.

James Buchanan's Obituary -- from Dead Presidents

The text from page 5 of The New York Times, June 2, 1868. Placed on the web by Manus Hand.

Historical Documents:

Inaugural Address (1857)

Other Internet Resources:


The home of James Buchanan located near Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Tourist information, biographies of Buchanan and Harriet Lane, and information on the mansion.




James Buchanan

15th President of the United States
(March 4, 1857 to March 3, 1861)