Thursday, January 14, 2010

President James Buchanan

by Philip S. Klein

The life of James Buchanan, 15th President of the United States, is somewhat of a depressing tale. He was the last of the compromise generation, those politicians who strictly adhered to the constitutional limitations of the federal government and respected the "right" of the states to allow or eliminate slavery as their people saw fit. (Of course, I have yet to read biographies of Lincoln or subsequent presidents, so maybe, they too, had hoped to maintain that qntebellum status quo.) For years he had labored in politics, supporting his party, state and country, but once he finally achieved the honored office of President, the compromises gave way and the union fell apart. Buchanan did his best, but with so many people in each region demanding their own way, there wasn't much he could do. Depressing. Reminds me of my church. But I digress. The book was a rather enjoyable read, and as the crisis of Civil War began to loom, it became somewhat dramatic. As one might suspect, this 1962 biography is quite favorable towards Mr. Buchanan and makes the readers question the virtues of his opponents, including Abraham Lincoln. But then, none of the presidential biographies I've read up to this point have had much good to say about James Buchanan. The multiple viewpoints along the way makes for some interesting reading.

Check it out.
LibraryThing link

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