23rd April is the birth anniversary of the most controversial president of the US so far. The historians have always portrayed him in a negative way. They consider him as one of the worst presidents of the US. Now you may be curious what made Buchanan earn such a bad reputation. We will tell you why.
Buchanan is known to people for majorly three facts: the first is that he was single during the entire term, secondly, he is from Pennsylvania and no other president has ever come from this area, thirdly he was the predecessor of Abraham Lincoln. The indifference policies of James Buchanan in the Civil war earned him a bad name mainly. The successor of Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson was in the race for being the worst president of the US with Buchanan. They were also joined with Warren Harding who was also a controversial president involved in a lot of scandals.
When Buchanan came to power, the times were difficult. They tried the patience and the leadership skills of the president. He was a member of the House of Representatives as many as five times. He remained the secretary of state under the leadership of James Polk and also the US Minister towards England. The democratic convention that was conducted in Cincinnati in the year 1856 saw Buchanan taking over the leadership from Franklin Pierce and fought with the Senator Stephan Douglas in order to chance his presidential nomination.
The results came out and Buchanan registered a victory on 17th ballot and defeated the likes of John C Fremont in the presidential elections of 1856. Until now, the days had been glorified for the president but from here on, the countdown for miserable life started for the president.
In the inaugural speech, Buchanan projected the matter of slavery happily and said that it was not a practical and important thing to discuss. He was also tipped off by the Supreme Court’s decision on the case running against him. This verdict came right after the address. Buchanan was in clear support to the theory that allowed states and the territories to decide the future of slavery; in case they want to continue it or not.
This was not the only drawback of his presidential rule but as the civil war approached the US, it went through a great recession period. This recession was attributed to the weird policies framed by its president, Buchanan. In the year 1860, it was very clear that Buchanan was not going to appear as a candidate for the re-election. However, in a convention he derailed Douglas’s campaign in order to stand against Abraham Lincoln as the sole nominee.
The democrats did not have many choices and hence they had to choose between either Douglas or John Brechineidge. This fact ensured, to a greater degree Lincoln’s election. Only three months after the elections, the seven states broke away from the union and Buchanan served as a muted duck president before Lincoln took over the presidency from him in the year 1861. Buchanan was heard sating in his union message to Congress that no one could prove the legality of the South Succession, however the federal govt. was not vested with enough powers to stop it.
He also stated “All for which the slave States have ever contended, is to be let alone and permitted to manage their domestic institutions in their own way. As sovereign States, they, and they alone, are responsible before God and the world for the slavery existing among them. For this the people of the North are not more responsible and have no more fight to interfere than with similar institutions in Russia or in Brazil,”.
Buchanan came out in public to explain his reason for not being involved in the presidency battle. He said “It is beyond the power of any president, no matter what may be his own political proclivities, to restore peace and harmony among the states. Wisely limited and restrained as is his power under our Constitution and laws, he alone can accomplish but little for good or for evil on such a momentous question.”
While the crises stages were nearing the US, he did not make any significant improvement in the conditions prevailing in the country. Due to this complacent approach, a substantial part of his cabinet resigned. As a result of it, the new confederacy received enough time to organize. While Lincoln was accepting the throne of the president, he told him “if you are as happy to take over the president as me leaving the post, then I am very sure that you are extremely happy”.
During the presidency rule of Buchanan, he had other problems as well, such as the obsession with Cuba and also announcing a war against the Mormon settlers located in the Utah region. Nate Silver, who is the editor of The New York Times stated that the results that point to Buchanan as the worst president have come out after four surveys and Buchanan came last. Buchanan has in fact been named as the worst president in each survey that has taken place since the year 1948.
Buchanan went to his estate in Central Pennsylvania in order to lead a peaceful retired life. He saw the end of the Civil war too. However, right after the end of the civil war, he died of his disease. Buchanan reportedly went dangerously ill and died of the same illness. His illness was transmitted to almost everyone in the hotel where he was staying. This fact also earned him a bad name and he became the center of people’s talks and pranks. Buchanan is certainly one of the worst presidents of the US.