1791 - 1868
Next in importance to the maintenance of the Constitution and the Union is the duty of preserving the Government free from the taint or even the suspicion of corruption. Public virtue is the vital spirit of republics, and history proves that when this has decayed and the love of money has usurped its place…the substance has departed forever. Inaugural Address
In the 1850s, the question of slavery divided the United States. Hopes ran high that the new President, "Old Buck," might be the man to avert national crisis. He failed entirely. During his administration, the Union broke apart, and when he left office, civil war threatened.
Cove Gap (near Mercersburg), Pennsylvania
Dickinson College (graduated 1809)
Woodward Hill Cemetery, Lancaster, Pennsylvania
How Kansas crises undid the presidencies of Pierce and Buchanan
From our Historical Presidency Series, historian Michael Holt describes the struggles over the Kansas issue