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Mini Biographies of Scots and Scots Descendants (B)
Buchanan, James

(1791-1868) Buchanan's grandparents were Ulster-Scot Presbyterians and he was born at Stony Batter, near Mercersburg PA and was the nation's 15th President serving under Jackson and Polk before being elected in 1856. In 1820, he was elected to Congress, serving successive terms by re-election for 10 years. In 1828 Andrew Jackson appointed him Minister to Russia; in 1834, he entered the U.S. Senate, serving there 12 years, where he declared against the right of the government to interfere with slavery in the states. He was appointed Secretary of State by President Polk where he negotiated the border of Canada and the U.S. at the 49th parallel. He was elected President in 1856; his cabinet contained men who supported the succession of South Carolina and eventually joined the Confederacy. He denied the right of succession but said the Federal government could not prevent it by force, and this unwillingness to take decisive action enabled the succeeding states to arm and prepare for war. He died in Lancaster, PA.

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