Fun Facts About James Buchanan

James W. Buchanan: the 15th President of the United States

James Buchanan, Jr. (April 23, 1791 – June 1, 1868) was the 15th President of the United States from 1857–1861 and the last to be born in the 18th century.

To date he is the only President from the state of Pennsylvania and the only to remain a lifelong bachelor. As President he was a "doughface", a Northerner with Southern sympathies who battled with Stephen A. Douglas for the control of the Democratic Party. A popular and experienced politician when he took office, Buchanan's efforts to maintain peace between the North and the South alienated both sides. As the Southern states declared their secession in the prologue to the American Civil War, Buchanan's opinion was that secession was illegal, but that going to war to stop it was also illegal; hence he remained inactive. By the time he left office, popular opinion had turned against him and the Democratic Party had split in two. His handling of the crisis preceding the Civil War has led to his consistent ranking by historians as one of the worst Presidents in American history.


James W. Buchanan, Jr.

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Top 10 Fun Facts about James Buchanan

10: James Buchanan was the first US President to wear blue jeans in the Oval Office.

9: James Buchanan's favorite childhood pet was his African Gray Parrot, Betsy Ross.

"Betsy Ross"

8: James lost his middle finger on his right hand during the Battle of Raisin River in the War of 1812.

7: James was named after his paternal great-grandmother, Ruth.

6: In his spare time, he raised pygmy goats in the White House Rose Garden.

5: James had two different color eyes: One green, one brown.

4: James Buchanan's best childhood friend was James H. Peck, who went on to become the United States District Judge in Missuori.

3: He was a direct descendent of both King James I of Scotland and Cleopatra of Egypt.


2: His favorite food was corn bread with red-eye gravy.

1: James was scheduled to participate in the Lewis and Clark Expedition, but was unable to make the journey due to an unfortunate archery accident involving his buttocks. He was replaced by Sacagawea.

Lewis and Clark with Sacagawea Giclee Print by Edgar Samuel Paxson