as soon as he could see over the counter in the first story of their house he was working there with his father. He learned to read via his mother at an early age, went to Grammar school, and started college in the junior year. During college he was almost expelled for goofing off with his friends too much. But a family friend stepped up and defended him, as long as he wouldn't get in trouble any more. So he was allowed to finish college with very good grades. When he finished he went to Lancaster Pennsylvania to study law. He soon was opening his own law firm. At first he didn't get very much business. Also during this time Great Britain was fighting with the U.S. And Buchanan decided to join the army. Fortunately the U.S. Started winning major battles and he was only employed for a couple of weeks.
Shortly before the end of the war Buchanan ran for state representative and won. He served for two years. Then, tired of that line of work he went back to law. Two years later he met a wealthy young lady named Ann Coleman. The two fell in love and were to be wed, but in a misunderstanding Ann cut the engagement. Soon after she died. Buchanan wrote many letters to Mr. Coleman begging that he be able to see the body before she was buried. One of the things that he wrote in these letters is as follows:
“I feel that happiness has fled from me forever.”
The letters were sent back unopened. Buchanan was so sad that he soon left town. His friend suggested that he run for congress to take his mind off of his sadness. He took the suggestion and was elected to the house of representatives. He moved to Washington D.C. And served in the House for ten years. While he was serving, tensions began to spring up between the south and the north. The year before he was elected to the House, Missouri wanted to become a state. However, there would have been an unbalance between slave states and free states. A year later Maine came into the picture, and the people of Maine said that they ALSO wanted to be a state. Henry Clay came up with the Missouri compromise or compromise of 1820, that allowed Missouri to become a slave state as long as Maine came in as a free state. The president that signed the compromise was James Monroe.
When Andrew Jackson was elected president, Buchanan supported him in any way he could. As a reward Jackson gave Buchanan the post of minister to Russia. When he was offered the post, he wasn't sure whether to accept or not, he didn't want to be so far from the U.S., and he didn't speak French. Finally he decided to accept the post. For one year he stayed in Russia, but soon the cold winters started being too cold, and he asked Jackson if he could come home. In 1833, Buchanan started the long journey back to America.
The year after that he was elected to senate. When it became time to elect a new president, the Democrats wanted Buchanan to run for them. But he saw that there wasn't enough support and declined. James K. Polk won instead. But when President Polk wanted a new secretary of state, he offered the post to Buchanan. James Buchanan wasn't sure whether to accept or not. He wanted to be elected to the supreme court, and he had just been re-elected to senate, but eventually he decided to accept. One of the matters that soon needed his attention, the Mexico problem. Texas was an independent republic at that time, and was thinking about joining the union. France and and England didn't want that to happen, because if Texas joined the U.S., there was a bigger chance that America would spread across the continent. They advised Texas to accept a treaty from Mexico that would allow Texas to remain a free republic as long as Texas wouldn't join the Union. The people of Texas were against that, they wanted to join the union. The refused the treaty and joined the Union. soon Mexico was claiming that part of Texas was actually theirs and they started to gather their armies along the boarder. On April 25th, 1846 Mexico fired the first shot of the Mexican war. In about two years Zachary Taylor and Winfield Scott captured the capital of Mexico, Mexico city, and Mexico was forced to surrender. When Mexico surrendered, Polk wanted to keep all of Mexico and make it part of the Union. James Buchanan convinced him to negotiate terms that were favorable for the U.S. In the end, the treaty gave the Union a piece of land that increased the size of the of the U.S. By about 1.2 million square miles. It later became Arizona, Nevada, California, and Utah, as well as part of New Mexico, Colorado, and Wyoming. In 1848 Buchanan was thinking about running for president, however the Democratic party chose Lewis Cass instead. This time Zachary Taylor who had helped win the Mexican war was elected president. By now, Buchanan was sick of politics. He bought Wheatland, a 22 acre estate in Pennsylvania. Even though he had let Washington, he didn't lose contact with his political friends there, they would even travel to Wheatland to discuss politics and ask him about what they should do when they had problems. He stayed there for a while, enjoying the country and the company of his nieces and nephews and their children. In about four years he was ready to go back to politics, and ready to run for president.
While he was happily living in Wheatland, Henry Clay was compromising. He came up with the compromise of 1850. Buchanan was totally against this compromise. He thought that the compromise of 1820 should be re-enforced. Also, he wasn't elected by the Democrats for their presidential candidate, they instead chose Franklin Pierce, another general from the Mexican war. President Pierce offered a position to me his minister to Great Britain, and Buchanan accepted. His niece Harriet Lane also joined him. He found staying in England very trying as the English were currently at war with Russia, no one really listened to what he or his niece told them. In 1856 he and his niece journeyed back to America. While they had been away the Kansas Nebraska act had been passed and Kansas was trying to figure out what to do. James Buchanan decided it was time to run president, he thought he knew what to do, and everyone else thought so too it seemed, as he won against John C. Fremont, with about 58% of the vote. At his Inauguration, he said that the only simple way to solve the slavery problem was too let new territories decide for them selves whether to be slave, or free. Although this was quite logical, it didn't take into consideration that a growing part of the U.S. was totally against slavery. This choice would cause problems for him all through his term as president. Meanwhile the problems in Kansas continued. The vote in Kansas was pointing toward slavery, but there was a problem, legally, only people who lived in Kansas could vote, so when the abolitionists heard that pro-slavery voters had traveled to Kansas from Missouri to vote, they said that the vote wasn't fair and that it had to be redone. When Buchanan entered office in 1857 the pro-slavery and the anti-slavery citizens were still arguing over whether the vote was valid. President Buchanan said that it was and named the pro-slavery leader Robert walker governor of Kansas. The abolitionists heard of this and decided that since it was obviously unfair, that they weren't even going to vote. Buchanan said that was fine, and the pro-slavery citizens of Kansas just go ahead and write up their constitution. When it was written up, the people of Kansas voted and since only the pro-slavery voters were writing and voting on the constitution, it said that in Kansas slavery was allowed. Buchanan thought that was great and he asked congress to allow that, but congress said that they weren't going to allow any constitution until all of the voters in Kansas had voted on it. The next time that the constitution was voted on, a large number rejected it. About this time an abolitionist named John Brown attempted to steal weapons and get them into the hands of slaves, thus starting a slave rebellion. The government
however arrested and hanged him. This caused quite a stir, with the pro-slavery side thinking of him as a devil, and the anti-slavery side thinking of him as a saint. One of the things that president Buchanan did do that was good for this country was that he created a treaty with England that would not allow them to create colonies in America, and wouldn't allow them to attack ships in the golf of Mexico. Soon Paraguay's government had signed a treaty that they wouldn't attack American ships either. But even with those victories, Buchanan had other problems excluding slavery. John Covode who was a congressman for Pennsylvania believed that the president was bribing other leaders to pass laws. He said that congress should impeach Buchanan. Congress spent many months trying to find out who was telling the truth, but they found no evidence that Covode was correct. During his presidency Kansas finally entered the Union as a free state. The president had trouble leading a divided nation, and only looked forward to handing the job over to someone else. In fact he said to Abraham Lincoln that if he was as happy to be entering the post as president as Buchanan was to be leaving it that Lincoln was a very happy man indeed. During his lame duck period seven states seceded (South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas), created the Confederate States of America, and elected for their president Jefferson Davis. James Buchanan said that it wasn't legal for the states to secede and elect another president, but he did nothing to prevent it. After he left the white house he retired to Wheatland. Several years later he published a book that defended what he had done as president. The book was called Mr. Buchanan's Administration on the Eve of the Rebellion. He lived for several years quietly at Wheatland before he died on June 1, 1868.
glad I got THAT off my mind.