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#15. James Buchanan. Clara Monfort Research 4 Period 2 ☺. 1857-1861. ~About James Buchanan~. About James Buchanan. Born April 23, 1791, in Mercersburg, Pennsylvania Died June 1, 1868, in Lancaster , Pennsylvania (77) Democrat Party National Conflict (1850-1865) Federalist

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James Buchanan

Clara Monfort

Research 4

Period 2


about james buchanan
~About James Buchanan~

About James Buchanan

  • Born April 23, 1791, in Mercersburg, Pennsylvania
  • Died June 1, 1868, in Lancaster , Pennsylvania (77)
  • Democrat Party
  • National Conflict (1850-1865)
  • Federalist
  • Dickinson College
  • Known to be the only president without a wife (bachelor)
  • Lawyer, Diplomat
  • Presbyterian
  • “doughface” (a Northerner with Southern sympathies)
  • Ranked one of the worst Presidents
  • Descendent of King James I of Scotland


James Buchanan, the 15th president of the United States, was in office during the National Conflict era, 1850-1865, where the country faced difficulties of financial, territorial, and social difficulties, and Buchanan’s principle’s were some of the causes of this downfall of the U.S.

political career
Political Career
  • 15th president of the United States, 1857-1861

- Vice President- John P. Reckinridge

  • 17th United States Secretary of State, 1845-1849
  • United States Senator from Pennsylvania, 1834-1845
  • 9th United States Minister to Russia
  • 14th United States Minister Plenipotentiary to the Court of St. James’s, 1853-1856
  • Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Pennsylvania's 3rd district, 1821-1823 and in 4th district, 1823-1831
  • Chairman of the House Committee on the Judiciary, 1829-1831



  • Delivered by Roger B. Toney
  • -Congress had no constitutional power to exclude slavery in the territories
  • Dred Scott sued for his freedom
  • Missouri case law state
  • -”if a slave returned to Missouri after traveling in a free state or territory, a slave is entitled to freedom by virtue of residence in the free state or territory”
  • “once free, always free”
  • James Buchanan was believed to have been personally involved in the outcome of the case
  • Wanted territorial question answered by the Court
  • Buchanan lobbied his fellow Pennsylvanian Justice Robert Cooper Grier to vote with the majority in that case to uphold the right of owning slave property
  • Abraham Lincoln then denounced him as an accomplice of the Slave Power
  • -Lincoln saw it as a conspiracy of slave owners to get control of the federal government and to nationalize slaver

The Dred Scott Case



  • Buchanan places his administration behind the congressional approval of the Lecompton Constitution in Kansas
  • -which would’ve admitted Kansas as a slave state
  • Governor Robert Walker said if the document wasn’t submitted for a vote or it would be rejected
  • Offered patronage and cash prizes for votes
  • Lecompton Constitution rejected but Buchanan still passed the bill through the House, then was blocked by the Senate by Northerners led Stephen A. Douglas (document is fraudulent & violates Kansas-Nebraska Act)
  • -This argument divided the Democratic party in Northern and Southern wings

Buchanan held on to a strict states’-rights policy- he cut the budget, imposed stricter regulation on the banks, and refused to commit the Federal government to relief measures

  • Buchanan also had conflicts with the Mormons (settlers of the Utah Territory)
  • Brigham Young’s refusal to accept a governor appointed in Washington, so Buchanan sent 2,500 troops to bring Utah under Federal control
  • Buchanan came upon a compromise with Young that granted the Mormons a high degree of autonomy after the Mormons fled Salt Lake City and threatened a scorched-earth policy


$Financial Panic$


$ The panic of 1857 added economic conflict on top of his other ones

$ The Panic of 1857 was a decline of the United States’ economy, generally the successive failure of banks an d businesses, that occurred in 1857

$ The impact of the Panic of 1857 was political than economic

$ The news of twin disasters was heard through telegraph and investors, including the British, began to withdraw money from Wall Street in large numbers causing bank failures to increase in the industrial Northeast and New England states, as opposed to the agricultural states in the West and South

$ Asia and Europe increased foreign dependence on American agriculture

$ Prices of farm goods lowered in 1857 when there was an abundance of crops

$Land speculation collapsed, as well as railroads, because of the lack of investment money








$Attempted Solutions$




  • $The federal government took it upon itself to solve the financial conflicts
  • $Bank holiday- October 1857
  • Secretary of the Treasury Howell Cobb recommended the government to sell revenue bonds and reduce the tariff (Tariff of 1857).
  • $Country began to pull in 1859