Not only was James Buchanan the worst U.S. President of all time, but a recent CSPAN survey ranked him as the least influential one. A democrat from Pennslyvania, nominated at the 1856 Democratic Party Convention. He went on to serve as the 15th U.S. President from March 4, 1857, to March 4, 1861.
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In his book, The Worst President–The Story of James Buchanan, author Gary Boulard writes, “Just 24 hours after former President James Buchanan died on June 1, 1868, the Chicago Tribune rejoiced: This desolate old man has gone to his grave. No son or daughter is doomed to acknowledge an ancestry from him.” Get it on Amazon.
Despite his many years in government, James Buchanan was the least effective U.S. President of all time, and he was not able to unite the country. By the time of his departure from the Office of President, a civil war was unavoidable.
Buchanan was a career politician, he served 11 years in the U.S. House of Representatives. In 1834 Buchanan won an election and served as U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania for 11 years. He then served other official roles such as James K. Polk’s Secretary of State.
Worst U.S. President Of All Time
President James Buchanan angered both the Northern states and the Southern states with his actions. He supported the Southern states’ plan to admit Kansas as a slave state to the Union.
Buchanan supported the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Dred Scott v. Sandford of 1857 which stated that the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of civil liberties did not apply to blacks.
In his address to Congress, Buchanan described the October 1859 raid by abolitionist John Brown as “an act of outright war by the North to outlaw slavery.” He then called for a federal slave code.
With the division between the two sides of the country so great, a civil war was on the horizon and everyone could feel it. The U.S. Army General Winfield Scott did. He warned President Buchanan that Abraham Lincoln’s being elected would surely cause secession of the Southern states. Buchanan ignored it.
The Southern states succeeded once he left office, upset at Abraham Lincoln’s victory in the election. The American Civil War began in 1861, four years after James Buchanan was elected U.S. President.
James Buchanan promised to only serve one term as U.S. President. With terrible division and the threat of escalating violence in the country, few attempted to argue with his decision.