James Buchanan was elected president in 1856. He assumed the office of President in March of 1857. Inaugurations were the March after the election year not in January like they are now. His Vice President was John C. Breckinridge.

James Buchanan wrote his inauguration speech at his home called Wheatland.

While James Buchanan was president two important things happened. A case was brought into the Supreme Court (the highest court in America) just as James Buchanan was elected president. The problem was slavery. The Scott family moved from the South to the North with a slave whose last name was Dred. Since the North was a free place with no slavery Dred thought he was free. Scott said that they owned him. The Supreme Court ruled that Dred was property and that Dred was still a slave even though he was now living in a free territory.

James Buchanan felt slavery was wrong, but it was not against our constitution. James followed what the constitution said over his personal beliefs.
The second problem had to do with an abolitionist named John Brown. An abolitionist is someone who wants to destroy slavery. He hated slavery . He came up with a plan to end slavery. His plan was to steal the South's weapons then hand them out to slaves. Then the slaves would hold the owners hostage, and then run away. His plan backfired and he was caught by Robert E. Lee. They took his case to the court . He was found guilty of treason. Treason is a serious crime. It is when they think a person has betrayed their country and want to destroy it. He was hung on December 2, 1859. This upset a lot of people.

Since James Buchanan never wanted to run for two presidential terms he returned to Wheatland in 1860. Abraham Lincoln was the next elected president. It was said that James Buchanan told President Lincoln as he left office, "If you are as happy in entering this house (White House) as I am in leaving it and returning home, you are the happiest man in the country."

Because he was not married, some people gave him animals to keep him company. The King of Siam gave him a herd of elephants, but James donated them to a zoo. He was also given a pair of bald eagles from a friend. He had cages for each of them on the back porch of Wheatland. They were never tied up but allowed to roam the grounds freely and they choose never to fly away from their home in Wheatland. James also had a dog named Lara. He took it to Washington to keep him company while president. It was very devoted to Mr. Buchanan.
James Buchanan - Pre Presidency
James Buchanan - Post Presidency