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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The "Worst President Ever? I Don't Think So!!" Story

President James Buchanan
It was an ordinary day.  Just finished watching CBS Sunday Morning's feature story on James Buchanan, considered by many to be the worst President ever.  It was a little over two years ago that I wrote a story myself about "Ten Cent Jimmy" which I titled "Finally Hit The Bottom Of The Barrel."  In my eyes there have been worst, but I never lived in the Civil Rights and the Civil War eras.  Perhaps if I had, I would have also considered Buchanan the worst ever.  The host of the CBS show, Mo Rocca, said that out of all the possibilities, James Buchanan stands out as the worst.  James was in Lancaster, Pennsylvania at his home on President Ave. when he found out he'd been elected to the highest office of our country.  
Wheatland, James' home in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
Seems that Mr. Rocca made a visit to Wheatland, Buchanan's home, in order to find out more about him.  Got to see his five person outhouse with two adult seats, one in-between size and two for children.  Seems many historians rank Buchanan right in that outhouse.  Hey, he couldn't have been too bad.  He was elected President of the United States!  Also elected and served in both houses of the Pennsylvania Legislature, elected and served in both houses of the U.S. Congress, was ambassador to Russia, ambassador to Great Britan and was Secretary of State.
Anne Coleman, girlfriend of James Buchanan.
 How could anyone with those credentials be picked as the worst President?  Heavens, there weren't even cell phones and emails at that time in history.  Perhaps it was because it was rumored that James was gay and heaven forbid you could be gay and also be the President.  I did write a story about James and his girlfriend Anne Coleman.  Ann thought that James wasn't loyal to her and committed suicide and is buried in the graveyard of my church, St. James Episcopal, in downtown Lancaster.  He vowed he would never marry after losing Anne so James has the distinction of being the only bachelor President.  He did know how to throw a good party though.  He threw the best party of the middle part of the nineteenth century, the Inaugural Ball.  Six thousand people showed up for that party.  
Anne Coleman was buried in St. James Churchyard.
Maybe someone who didn't get invited held a grudge and voted him the worst!  He was done in two days after his inaugu- ration when the Supreme Court handed down the Dred Scott decision which allowed escaped slaves to be forcibly returned to their owners.  Seems Buchanan backed this decision and slavery forever was his undoing.  He viewed the decision as he did, fearing it would be the end of the union if he hadn't.  When the south began to secede, his friends abandoned him, since many were from the south.  The Civil War was then known as Buchanan's war.  My guess is that whomever was in office at the time probably would have been picked as the worst.  After leaving office Buchanan told incoming President Lincoln, "Sir, if you are as happy in entering the White House as I shall feel on returning to Wheatland, you are a happy man indeed."  At the time he told his friends and family that he more than likely would be the last ever president of these United States, fearing the Union was about to be history.  Well, Mo Rocca at least got a chance to see where one of my favorite Presidents lived.  I realize I might be slightly prejudiced, but then again, who wouldn't be to have had a President of the United States who lived slightly over a mile from their house.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

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