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The Worst President—The Story of James Buchanan

The Worst President—The Story of James Buchanan


Book Overview: The Worst President—The Story of James Buchanan

Just 24 hours after former President James Buchanan died on June 1, 1868, the Chicago Tribune rejoiced: "This desolate old man has gone to his grave. No son or daughter is doomed to acknowledge an ancestry from him."

Nearly a century and a half later, in 2004, writer Christopher Buckley observed "It is probably just as well that James Buchanan was our only bachelor president. There are no descendants bracing every morning on opening the paper to find another heading announcing: 'Buchanan Once Again Rated Worst President in History.'"

How to explain such remarkably consistent historical views of the man who turned over a divided and demoralized country to Abraham Lincoln, the same man regarded through the decades by presidential scholars as the worst president in U.S. history?

In this exploration of the presidency of James Buchanan, 1857-61, Garry Boulard revisits the 15th President and comes away with a stunning conclusion: Buchanan's performance as the nation's chief executive was even more deplorable and sordid than scholars generally know, making his status as the country's worst president richly deserved.

Boulard documents Buchanan's failure to stand up to the slaveholding interests of the South, his indecisiveness in dealing with the secession movement, and his inability to provide leadership during the nation's gravest constitutional crisis.

Using the letters of Buchanan, as well as those of more than two dozen political leaders and thinkers of the time, Boulard presents a narrative of a timid and vacillating president whose drift and isolation opened the door to the Civil War.

The author of The Expatriation of Franklin Pierce: The Story of a President and the Civil War (iUniverse, 2006), Boulard has reported for the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times and is a business writer for the Albuquerque-based Construction Reporter.

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Publication Date2015-03-23
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Garry Boulard is a widely acclaimed author and seasoned journalist, known for his prolific work in historical non-fiction. With an illustrious career spanning over three decades, Boulard's portfolio brims with insightful narratives that delve deep into the cultural, social and political fabric of America. His exceptional storytelling skills, meticulous research process and distinctive perspective have solidified his reputation as a preeminent voice in the realm of historical literature. Boulard’s notable works include books such as "The Swing Era" and "Louis Armstrong: A Cultural Legacy", both of which have received critical acclaim for their thorough exploration of pivotal eras in American history. His pieces often offer in-depth analyses and nuanced interpretations that encourage readers to better understand and appreciate the subjects explored. From his humble beginnings as a regional reporter to becoming a respected authority in his field, Boulard's journey is characterized by his relentless pursuit for knowledge and unwavering commitment to excellence. His writings demonstrate his profound understanding of complex matters and undeniably contribute to the literary world, making him an author of great distinction.

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