Birth-Death: (1797 - 1868 ) Term: (1857-1861 )
It was during Buchanan's presidency that the deep South states separated from the Union. Buchanan had tried to reach compromise between the North and South, but was not able to prevent the building tension from reaching the breaking point.
Domestic Events of James Buchanan
James Buchanan was elected by the Southern Democrats. He was popular because he supported the Ostend Manifesto, and was not willing to abolish slavery. The Democrats supported the Compromise of 1850 and the Kansas-Nebraska bill. The opposing Republican party, led by John Fremont, claimed that Congress had the right to legislate slavery, favored admission of Kansas as a free state, and attacked the Ostend Manifesto.
In 1857 a controversial decision was handed down by the Supreme Court. The Dred Scott case was a test case set up by the North to test the constitutionality of slavery. However, it backfired: the court ruled that Dred Scott, and all blacks were not citizens and had no right to sue in the Supreme Court. The Missouri Compromise was declared unconstitutional because only a state had the right to forbid slavery. The public in the North was outraged by this decision and refused to obey it. The tension was growing, and with one spark, the war would begin.
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