James Buchanan

James Buchanan A provocative reconsideration of a presidency on the brink of Civil WarAlmost no president was as well trained and well prepared for the office as James Buchanan He had served in the Pennsylvania stat

  • Title: James Buchanan
  • Author: Jean H. Baker Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.
  • ISBN: 9780805069464
  • Page: 247
  • Format: Hardcover
  • A provocative reconsideration of a presidency on the brink of Civil WarAlmost no president was as well trained and well prepared for the office as James Buchanan He had served in the Pennsylvania state legislature, the U.S House, and the U.S Senate he was Secretary of State and was even offered a seat on the Supreme Court And yet, by every measure except his own, JameA provocative reconsideration of a presidency on the brink of Civil WarAlmost no president was as well trained and well prepared for the office as James Buchanan He had served in the Pennsylvania state legislature, the U.S House, and the U.S Senate he was Secretary of State and was even offered a seat on the Supreme Court And yet, by every measure except his own, James Buchanan was a miserable failure as president, leaving office in disgrace Virtually all of his intentions were thwarted by his own inability to compromise he had been unable to resolve issues of slavery, caused his party to split thereby ensuring the election of the first Republican president, Abraham Lincoln and made the Civil War all but inevitable.Historian Jean H Baker explains that we have rightly placed Buchanan at the end of the presidential rankings, but his poor presidency should not be an excuse to forget him To study Buchanan is to consider the implications of weak leadership in a time of national crisis Elegantly written, Baker s volume offers a balanced look at a crucial moment in our nation s history and explores a man who, when given the opportunity, failed to rise to the challenge.

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      Published :2019-05-13T20:05:28+00:00

    About "Jean H. Baker Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr."

    1. Jean H. Baker Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.

      Jean H Baker is a professor of history at Goucher College A graduate of Goucher College, she earned her doctorate at Johns Hopkins University.

    921 thoughts on “James Buchanan”

    1. Book Twenty-Three of my Presidential Challenge."He was the most dangerous of chief executives, a stubborn, mistaken ideologue whose principles held no room for compromise. His experience in government had only rendered him too self-confident to consider other views. In his betrayal of the national trust, Buchanan came closer to committing treason than any other president in American history."What makes a president a bad president? More to the point, what makes a bad president, the worst presiden [...]

    2. I’m less disposed than the author to lay blame for the Civil War on James Buchanan. The larger contour of the story must be considered and when it is her arguments do not stand up to scrutiny. One of Baker’s main themes is that Buchanan was a major cause of the Civil War because of his inaction and vacillation on slavery and states rights issues particularly during the four months between Lincoln’s election and his inauguration. Within that period seven states seceded from the Union and up [...]

    3. I think the author did a really good job explaining all the facets of Buchanan's personality as well as his presidency. Buchanan was, without a doubt, one of the worst presidents the US has ever seen. To understand how easily the Civil War occurred this is a must read book.

    4. After visiting Buchanan's home (Wheatland, in Lancaster PA), I had to find out if he was really the worst president ever, or if he was just an unfortunate victim of timing. Would anyone who happened to fill the White House 1856-1860 have been doomed? Jean Baker writes convincingly that Buchanan's reputation was well-earned. Baker identifies his personal shortcomings, including a fundamentally pessimistic nature, a pro-Southern bias that left him blind to the evils of slavery and to the momentum [...]

    5. I'm a bit surprised at the rather low average rating of this book. This is the fourteenth book I have read in the series and the only one so far that has gotten five stars from me. Writing a book about a figure as important as an American president in a target of about 150 pages is a daunting task. I think Jean Baker did it brilliantly. Other books put in way too many personal details, taking away from the important story of the politician and leader, and others put in all the personal details u [...]

    6. James Buchanan consistently is rated as one of the worst of the American presidents. Jean Baker in her biography of the man shares that view: the focus of her book is to identify how a man who had Buchanan's qualifications and experience in the political realm could fail so miserably. James Buchanan was an experienced politician of uncertain sexual orientation, who seems to have identified himself with the aristocratic southern slave owner. She notes that his stubbornness, arrogance, and pessimi [...]

    7. This is an exceptional biography that I highly recommend. Baker provides a clear indictment of the basic failures of Buchanan as a politicians, until she gets to the Secession Crisis. Her nationalism, prejudice against the South, and constant tendency to anthropomorphize the Federal Union into a "nation" with a "soul" and a romanticized "presence" detract from an otherwise good biography. There are good reasons to criticize Buchanan, but his unwillingness to start a war remains, in this reader's [...]

    8. I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I was expecting an average biography of one of America's most inept Presidents, but this is a thoroughly researched and well-written book that shows Buchanan as an activist President who used his authority to please the South whenever he could and, in, effect helped bring about the Civil War. Jean Baker's writing style was enjoyable; she provides a narrative with a good balance between Buchanan's personal background, his personality, and his political car [...]

    9. This was a thoughtful, well written biography of James Buchanan that focuses on his Presidency, the four years immediately preceding the civil war. The author dispels many of the myths of the time, one being that the political debate was about state's rights and not slavery. Of course, the South's political efforts, with Buchanan's support, in the 1850's were against state's rights, instead they for a national "right to slavery" that would trump efforts by northern states to thwart slavery even [...]

    10. bestpresidentialbios/2014/“James Buchanan“ is Jean Baker’s 2004 addition to The American Presidents Series. Baker is a history professor at Goucher College in Maryland where she previously received an undergraduate degree. She earned a Masters and PhD at Johns Hopkins and has written several books, the best known being “Mary Todd Lincoln: A Biography.”As the fifth book from The American Presidents Series I’ve read so far, “James Buchanan” meets or exceeds most of my expectations [...]

    11. An excellent short biography of our worst President. Buchanan saw that slavery was the great issue that could divide or even destroy the Union, but rather than resolving the problem in a way that aligned American practices and institutions with its founding principles, Buchanan just wanted the issue to go away. Even before he took his oath of office he intervened in the Dred Scott case, causing it to be issued in a stronger form than had been likely and with the support of six justices, includin [...]

    12. I picked this up after reading a blog entry that claimed that Bush couldn't be called the worst president ever as long as there was Buchanan. And I think the guy had a point, although it may be that only the existence of the slavery problem made that so. (Ie, a problem so huge that it was already tearing the country in two before Buchanan ever got there; except for 9/11, Bush seems to have manufactured all this sh*t himself.) Because otherwise, the failings of the 2 administrations feel quite si [...]

    13. Another excellent contribution to this presidential series, with Goucher College historian Jean Baker a good choice to write this volume. She covers all the basics about this relatively unknown president, the only one from my native Pennsylvania, and rightly argues that his failure in office was not due to incompetence (the common perception) but rather due to his wrong headed and treasonous devotion to the south. Buchanan was not the only Doughface president, that is one who hailed from the nor [...]

    14. I opened this book with the popular belief that Buchanan's presidency was a failure because he did nothing to stop the dissolution of the Union. What I learned was that he was much more pro-Southern than I understood (surprising since he was a Pennsylvanian) and his policies contributed to Southern secession, leaving Lincoln a much bigger mess than he should have inherited. I only knocked the book down from 5 to 4 stars because I found the author was a little petty with Buchanan's appearance and [...]

    15. A pretty dry read on a pretty terrible president. Buchanan came into office with a wealth of experience in a vast variety of political positions he had held. Then he basicly stood by and did nothing about the impending sessesion of the southern states. It makes you wonder if we had a stronger 15th president, could the Civil War been avoided? Honestly, I was more interested in his possible homosexuality which was briefly touched on. I'm pretty sure he was our first gay president. In the words of [...]

    16. Another good entry in this series of short presidential biographies, this one on the much maligned James Buchanan. There's a tendency to view Buchanan as a doddering, indecisive Jimmy Carter figure but this book argues that this was not the case, that Buchanan's actions (his blinding devotion to the South, doing nothing to stop the Confederacy prepare for treason, etc) actively set the stage for the Civil War. Worse than Nixon!

    17. I liked this author better than others in this series. Such an interesting man to read about, wish I had done so before this last election because of the many parallels with today. Buchanan was hands down one of the most qualified men (congressman, senator, ambassador, Secretary of State, politician and brilliantly successful attorney) in our history to run for office, yet, it seemed to have no bearing on his ability to lead. He was a horrible president with many of his actions making the cause [...]

    18. Widely regarded as our worst President, I was looking forward to learn about James Buchanan. I was interested to see if those reports were correct. To a large extent, I think they are. He came to office with very impressive credentials, but he still managed to fail. Baker remains objective in some parts, but is very hostile in the closing chapter. I think it's warranted in some instances, but tedious in others. I'm just excited to finally get through this batch of "boring" Presidents.

    19. This was a fascinating look at the life and political career of President Buchanan. In a fair manner, the book does a great job explaining Buchanan's shortcomings and the potential reasons behind some of his most flawed decisions.

    20. A fairly unbiased essay of a poor President. I liiked this book and the others in this series because it gives a biography of the President's life and administration without being overly biased or encumbering.

    21. James Buchanan was not a good president, probably among the worst. His loyalty at a very crucial time in American history laid with slave masters. Baker gives a very solid history here and holds back overt criticism until the end, instead letting history speak for itself.

    22. I have wanted to read a biography about James Buchanan for a while. This was the perfect length, as I didn't want an extensive read. The book covers the 'worst American Presidency,' however, it definitely glossed over some very relevant history. That's were a more comprehensive history of the mid-19th century would be very helpful. Overall, I think this is a good introduction to the thinking of the 15th President, and how his actions and inaction led to the Civil War.

    23. The book was interesting. I knew very little about Buchanan. After reading this book, I've concluded that he was much worse than I had even been led to believe.

    24. When most people think of James Buchanan, they think of a "dead weight" or "do nothing" chief executive. While he may not move up in the ranks after this book, author Jean Baker does a great job of setting the record straight and thoroughly explaining the exact perceptions and truths of Buchanan's administration.What I enjoyed more about this book is its focus on Buchanan's presidency, not so much earlier or later life. Some of the books in this series painstakingly recount the minutiae of presi [...]

    25. James Buchanan was our 15th President and a Democrat, which made me predisposed to like him, him being the incarnation of my favorite number ever. Unfortunately, but hopefully not prophetically, Buchanan sucked.He was the only President to date to hail from Pennsylvania and the only bachelor. (The author spends an inordinate amount of text laying the case for his homosexuality, which is quite convincing. It makes for good reading but does it matter? Nope.) He was a successful lawyer, Congressman [...]

    26. Another well written and thoughtful biography in the American Presidents series. Baker argues that far from being a weak and vacillating President, Buchanan demonstrated that he could be an aggressive and activist one when he chose to be. Pro-Southern sympathies drove most of his actions, not just in response to the LeCompton fraud, but also in his foreign policy 9which focussed largely on acquisition of more slave territory), and in his use of the veto against a homestead act and a land=grant c [...]

    27. James Buchanan came to the presidency with a wonderful resume. And he failed dismally. This brief biography, part of the well done "The American Presidents" series, tries to explain that disconnect. In the recurring introduction to each volume in the series that he edited, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. remarked that (Page xvii) "To succeed, presidents must not only have a port to seek but they must convince Congress and the electorate that it is a port worth seeking." And "there's the rub" for Buchana [...]

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