Public Figure Profiles

James Buchanan

James Buchanan Jr. ( byoo-KAN-ən; April 23, 1791 – June 1, 1868) was an American lawyer, diplomat and politician who served as the 15th president of the United States from 1857 to 1861. He previously served as secretary of state from 1845 to 1849 and represented Pennsylvania in both houses of the U.S. Congress. He was an advocate for states' rights, particularly regarding slavery, and minimized the role of the federal government preceding the Civil War.

Buchanan was a prominent lawyer in Pennsylvania and won his first election to the state's House of Representatives as a Federalist. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1820 and retained that post for five terms, aligning with Andrew Jackson's Democratic Party. Buchanan served as Jackson's minister to Russia in 1832. He won election in 1834 as a U.S. senator from Pennsylvania and continued in that position for 11 years. He was appointed to serve as President James K. Polk's secretary of state in 1845, and eight years later was named as President Franklin Pierce's minister to the United Kingdom.

Beginning in 1844, Buchanan became a regular contender for the Democratic party's presidential nomination. He was finally nominated in 1856, defeating incumbent Franklin Pierce and Senator Stephen A. Douglas at the Democratic National Convention. He benefited from the fact that he had been out of the country, as ambassador in London, and had not been involved in slavery issues. Buchanan and running mate John C. Breckinridge of Kentucky carried every slave state except Maryland, defeating anti-slavery Republican John C. Frémont and Know-Nothing former president Millard Fillmore to win the 1856 presidential election.

As President, Buchanan intervened to assure the Supreme Court's majority ruling in the pro-slavery decision in the Dred Scott case. He acceded to Southern attempts to engineer Kansas’ entry into the Union as a slave state under the Lecompton Constitution, and angered not only Republicans but also Northern Democrats. Buchanan honored his pledge to serve only one term, and supported Breckinridge's unsuccessful candidacy in the 1860 presidential election. He failed to reconcile the fractured Democratic party amid the grudge against Stephen Douglas, leading to the election of Republican and former Congressman Abraham Lincoln.

Buchanan's leadership during his lame duck period, before the American Civil War, has been widely criticized. He simultaneously angered the North by not stopping secession, and the South by not yielding to their demands. He supported the ineffective Corwin Amendment in an effort to reconcile the country. He made an unsuccessful attempt to reinforce Fort Sumter, but otherwise refrained from preparing the military. His failure to forestall the Civil War has been described as incompetency, and he spent his last years defending his reputation. In his personal life, Buchanan never married, the only U.S. president to remain a lifelong bachelor, leading some to question his sexual orientation. Buchanan died of respiratory failure in 1868, and was buried in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where he had lived for nearly 60 years. Historians and scholars consistently rank Buchanan as one of the worst presidents in American history.

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Some of their strengths

James Buchanan has many admirable traits.

Based on spiritual traditions from around the world, they are someone who can be described as Strong, Confident, Extroverted, Perseverent, Loyal, Optimistic, and Bold.

Strong and Diligent

According to Mysticism’s Astrology tradition, James Buchanan is someone who is a strong, diligent, and trustworthy person who approaches life with honesty and perseverance, but who is also physical, sensual, and artistic. A person who is ambitious and motivated.

Soulful and Intuitive

Based on Daoism’s Ba-Zi or ‘Chinese Zodiac’ tradition, people who know James Buchanan well know them as someone who can be graceful, romantic, and reserved, like gentle rain.

Imaginative and Sentimental

According to Hinduism’s Jyotisha or ‘Vedic Astrology’ tradition, many would also describe James Buchanan as someone who is imaginative, sentimental, and in touch with emotions.

A person who has extremely good memory and analytical skills, likes to make sure that everyone gets along, enjoys all kinds of situations and people, has a talent for travel and languages, and who makes lifelong friends.

Vigorous and Friendly

Based on the Mayan Tzolk’in or ‘Mayan Astrology’ tradition, James Buchanan is someone who has a vigor and energy that applies itself to all life's activities and endeavors, and a knack for forming family-like structures, groups, and communities.

They are also someone who is reflective, mysterious, and purposeful, who enjoys quiet and solo work, and who thrives in positions where there is no need to report to someone else.

Patient and Compassionate

According to Judaism’s Kabbalah tradition, James Buchanan tends to be someone who approaches life with grace and compassion, and who has a powerful and commanding personality. Who can be analytical, patient, and deliberate, avoiding risks and seeking out stability instead.

Some of James Buchanan's challenges

While James Buchanan has many strengths, nobody is perfect. They also have some challenging traits they need to manage.

For example, James Buchanan can be Stubborn, Irritable, Impulsive, Idle, Suspicious, Arrogant, and Status-seeking.

Stubborn and Idle

One of James Buchanan's key challenges is that they are someone who can be seen as stubborn and, at times, lazy.

James Buchanan must also exercise caution as they can be short-tempered and aggressive.

Irritable and Moody

James Buchanan is someone who can be irritable and moody, have a tendency to experience self-doubt, be too secretive, can take too many risks, and who can have an extreme approach to managing personal finances.

Materialistic and Aggressive

Finally, James Buchanan also can be materialistic, emotional, aggressive, stubborn, inconsistent, and be prone to big temper outbursts.

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