James Buchanan – Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Last year, Richard Strauss published “Worst. President. Ever.: James Buchanan, the POTUS Rating Game, and the Legacy of the Least of the Lesser Presidents. It was released on October 1, 2016, which was the day I downloaded it to my Galaxy Tab. It is still there, in line for reading.
He released a shorter version for Politico Magazine in September of 2016 (link below).
Regardless of efficiency, James Buchanan was America’s fifteenth president serving from March 1857 – March 1861. The dates should ring a few bells; these were the years just prior to the Civil War. Buchanan, a northern Democrat did not believe that states could secede but understood that the Constitution did not give the federal government any power to prevent it. As such, Buchanan sided with those who aligned with a strict interpretation of the Constitution.
Buchanan was wealthy well before entering political life. He served in both the House and the Senate throughout the 1820s and 30s. President Polk appointed him Secretary of State. Under President Pierce, Buchanan served as Ambassador to the United Kingdom. He returned to the United States in 1856 to accept the Democratic nomination for President.
President Buchanan was our only “bachelor” president and needing a female hostess, took his niece Harriet Lane to the White House. Interestingly, it was Harriet’s position that coined the term “First Lady,” as she was not Buchanan’s wife and the press needed a role to which it could refer. “First Lady” stuck. Harriet was a contemporary of Queen Victoria of England and was considered a style icon of the day.