As president, he tried to maintain peace between pro-slavery and anti-slavery groups within the government, but tensions only escalated. In 1860, after the election of Abraham Lincoln was elected to succeed Buchanan, South Carolina seceded and the Confederacy was soon established. In April 1861, a month after Buchanan left office, the Civil War began.
Learn more about Buchanan from WhiteHouse.gov
Citation: Democratic ticket : our principles, the constitution ... : for president James Buchanan, of Pennsylvania : for vice president John Breckinridge of Kentucky. Richmond, Va.: Lith. of Ritchie Dunnavant, 1856. Broadside 1856 .D38 BOX, Manuscripts & Special Collections, Library of Virginia
English: 4.7, 5.7
Analyze: Take a look at the principles listed on the ticket:
- The Constitution
- The Sovereignty and equality of the States
- The repeal of the Missouri Restriction
- The people of the Territories in forming State Governments to adopt their own institutions.
How would you interpret each of these if you were a voter in 1856?
In His Shoes: Write a journal entry as if you were Jame Buchanan dealing with the first round of seceding states. Would you take some blame based on your political views? How would it sit with your personal beliefs about slavery?