"The incorruptible statesman whose walk was upon the mountain ranges of the law."
? ? ? ? ? Life long friend Jermiah S. Black
U.S. Attorney General 1857-1860, U.S. Secretary of State 1860-1861
This park commemorates the birthplace of James Buchanan, the 15th President of the United States. James was born on April 23, 1791 into a Scotch-Irish family that ran a trading post, Stony Batter, here on the frontier. As young James grew into a man, he made it his life's ambition to learn the law and inner workings of American government. He became Pennsylvania's only president in 1857.
Buchanan was no stranger to politics when he ran for president. Many believe he was better prepared for the presidency than any of his predecessors, except John Quincy Adams. He began his political career at the young age of 23. Over the next 42 years, he conducted political campaigns and garnered prominence and stature. He never lost an election in which he ran and governed under a simple principle,
"I acknowledge no master but the law."
When President Buchanan took office, the United States was rapidly splitting over the issue of slavery. He kept the Union together through compromise, but the abolitionists in the north and secessionists in the south did not want compromise.
In a special message to Congress in January 1861, Buchanan explained his policy, but northern newspapers called his policy weak, and pro-southern papers called it wavering and even treasonable. President Lincoln's policy in his inaugural address three months later was hailed by the same northern papers as forceful, brave, patriotic, manly, and full of decision and firmness. Only a few papers noted that Buchanan and Lincoln occupied exactly the same ground on policy!
James Buchanan's 47-year political career:
* 1814 - 1817: Two terms as PA assemblyman
* 1821 - 1831: Five terms as U.S. representative
* 1832 - 1833: Foreign minister to Russia under President Andrew Jackson
* 1834 - 1845: Two and a half terms as a U.S. senator
* 1845 - 1849: Secretary of state under President James Polk
* 1853 - 1856: Foreign minister to Great Britain under President Franklin Pierce
* 1857 - 1861: 15th President of the United States of America