James Buchanan, Jr. was born on the 23rd of April 1791 and died on the first of June 1868. He was the fifteenth president of the United States, holding office from 1857 to 1861. He is the only president to come from Pennsylvania, and also the only president who never married. As president, he was a doughface, or northerner who sympathized with the south. He is widely regarded as one of the worst presidents of the United States, and possibly the worst.
As the southern states seceded from the Union, he maintained that secession was illegal but that going to war to stop it was also illegal. As a result, he did what he’d done throughout most of the crises that faced him as president: nothing. His inability to prevent the Civil War is generally regarded by historians as the worst failure ever by a US President. Many historians consider him the worst president ever.
The Democrats nominated him in 1856 mostly because he was in England during the Kansas-Nebraska debate and thus not tainted by either side of that issue. He did not want to run, but accepted the nomination anyway. Former president Millard Fillmore’s Know-Nothing candidacy split votes away from the first-ever Republican candidate, John C. Fremont, winning Buchanan the office.
As the schism in the country grew, President-Elect Buchanan planned to sit out the crisis by maintaining a sectional balance in his appointments and by persuading the people to accept constitutional law according to the Supreme Court’s interpretations. A couple of justices hinted what the outcome of the Dred Scott decision would be.
As Buchanan left office, he remarked to the incoming President Abraham Lincoln, “If you are as happy in entering the White House as I shall feel on returning to Wheatland, you are a happy man.”