James Buchanan's Early Life

Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

Not the most famous U.S. politician, James Buchanan has a lot of fun trivia attached to him nonetheless. Learn more about him, who he was, the trivia and his early life in this lesson.

James Buchanan

Who was James Buchanan? That's a good question, isn't it? A lot of people outside the Jeopardy world may not be able to answer that he was the 15th President of the United States (1857-1861). But if you're a trivia nut, you'd know that. You'd also know that he was also the only unmarried president in our nation's history. Try getting elected to the presidency when single nowadays!

James Buchanan

Let's go over the fun tid-bits of his early life in this lesson.

Birth & Family

Little James was born on April 23, 1791 in Cove Gap, Pennsylvania. He remains the nation's only president from Pennsylvania and the nation's last president born in the 18th century. Another couple little trivia facts for you there.

Little James was born in a log cabin to a Scottish Presbyterian family. But he wasn't poor, don't you worry. His north Irishman father, James Sr., was a well-off merchant and farmer. And his mom, Elizabeth Speer, was a well-educated woman. So, he had brains and money early on in life.

James was also one of eleven children. He was the oldest son and second oldest in general.

Early Life

James went to school at the Old Stone Academy when he was little. Eventually, he attended Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. He was quite the feisty character apparently, as he almost got suspended and expelled for bad behavior on two occasions. But he ended up graduating in 1809 with honors believe it or not!

After college, James moved to Lancaster, Pennsylvania to study law. In 1812, he was admitted to the bar and started practicing law in Lancaster. James tried to put his college feistiness to use as he went on to serve the country in defending it from the British in the War of 1812. Specifically, he was available to defend the city of Baltimore but he never actually saw any action.

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