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History and GovernmentCongressional BiographiesPennsylvania / US

James BUCHANAN

(1791-1868)
Senate Years of Service:
1834-1845
Party:
Democrat

BUCHANAN, James, a Representative and a Senator from Pennsylvania and 15th President of the United States; born at Cove Gap, near Mercersburg, Franklin County, Pa., April 23, 1791; moved to Mercersburg, Pa., with his parents in 1799; was privately tutored and then attended the village academy; graduated from Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pa., in 1809; moved to Lancaster, Pa., the same year; studied law; admitted to the bar in 1812 and practiced in Lancaster; was one of the first volunteers in the War of 1812 and served in the defense of Baltimore; member, State house of representatives 1814-1815; elected to the Seventeenth and to the four succeeding Congresses (March 4, 1821-March 3, 1831); chairman, Committee on the Judiciary (Twenty-first Congress); was not a candidate for renomination in 1830; one of the managers appointed by the House of Representatives in 1830 to conduct the impeachment proceedings against James H. Peck, judge of the United States District Court for the District of Missouri; Minister to Russia 1832-1834; elected as a Democrat (Jacksonian) to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of William Wilkins; reelected in 1837 and 1843 and served from December 6, 1834, until he resigned on March 5, 1845, to accept a Cabinet portfolio; chairman, Committee on Foreign Relations (Twenty-fourth through Twenty-sixth Congresses); Secretary of State in the Cabinet of President James Polk 1845-1849; Minister to Great Britain 1853-1856; elected as a Democrat as President of the United States in 1856 and served from March 4, 1857, to March 3, 1861; retired to his home ”Wheatland,” near Lancaster, Pa., where he died June 1, 1868; interment in Woodward Hill Cemetery, Lancaster, Pa.

Bibliography

American National Biography; Dictionary of American Biography; Buchanan, James. The Works of James Buchanan. Edited by John B. Moore. 12 vols. Philadelphia: Lippincott Company, 1908-1911; Baker, Jean H. James Buchanan. New York: Times Books, 2004.

Source: Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1771-Present

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