The son of wealthy Scottish and Irish immigrant parents, Buchanan became a successful lawyer and entered politics with his election to the Pennsylvania state legislature as a Federalist in His overseas duties enabled him to avoid becoming embroiled in the domestic conflict over slavery. That isolation, which ended when he was elected president in , contributed to the failure of his administration. His passivity toward southern states who threatened to leave the union alienated half of his own Democratic Party and allowed a united Republican Party under Abraham Lincoln to win the presidential election of In his late 20s, Buchanan became engaged to a woman, Anne Coleman, whose wealthy father accused him of gold-digging and opposed the marriage. Some historians claim that Buchanan then began an affair with another woman.
A recent spat in the Washington Daily Globe had stirred his political rivals into full froth—Aaron Venable Brown of Tennessee was especially enraged. Google James Buchanan and you inevitably discover the assertion that American history has declared him to be the first gay president. The premise raises many questions: What was the real nature of their relationship? And why do Americans seem fixated on making Buchanan our first gay president? My research led me to archives in 21 states, the District of Columbia, and even the British Library in London.
Loewen is one of several historians who believe that James Buchanan, who served from to , was in fact our first gay president. He is the only president to have remained a bachelor throughout his life. His niece, Harriet Lane, handled the duties of First Lady during his term in office. In one letter to a confidante dated May 13, , Buchanan wrote about his life after King moved to Paris to become the American ambassador to France:.
James Buchanan Jr. He previously served as secretary of state from to and represented Pennsylvania in both houses of the U. He was a states' rights advocate, and minimized the role of the federal government in the nation's final years of slavery. Buchanan was a prominent lawyer in Pennsylvania and won his first election to the state's House of Representatives as a Federalist.