Who Was James Buchanan?

Contributor: Nichole Brooker. Lesson ID: 11128

Everyone has opinions about the president, and politics heighten national divisions. Most agree Buchanan was one of the worst, possibly causing the Civil War! Write and draw your opinion of Buchanan!


United States

learning style
personality style
Grade Level
Intermediate (3-5)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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President Buchanan was the first bachelor (man who wasn't married) to hold the presidential office. He never did marry and had his niece serve as hostess (first lady) at the White House. Apparently, he never heard of "happy wife, happy life!" Explore Buchanan's presidency and the contributions he made to the United States.

Historians rank the presidents in order from "best" to "worst" (although the criteria of this ranking is a bit controversial).

At any rate, President Buchanan ranks as one of the top 5 WORST presidents in United States history! Take a look at the James Buchanan video from The History Channel (below) and see if you can figure out why. First, print the Graphic Organizer titled Pros and Cons of James Buchanan found in Downloadable Resources in the right-hand sidebar. Take notes of what you feel were President Buchanan's pros (good) and cons (bad).

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Take a look at the list in the Got It? section and see if you discovered a similar list of facts.

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