1857 - 1860
|James Buchanan Jr. (April
23, 1791 – June 01, 1868) was the 15th President of the United States (March
04, 1857 – March 04, 1861), serving immediately prior to the American Civil
War. He is the only president from Pennsylvania, the only president to
remain a lifelong bachelor, and the last president born in the 18th century.
A member of the Democratic Party, he was the 17th United States Secretary of
State and served in the United States Senate and United States House of
Representatives. He was United States Minister to the United Kingdom (August
23, 1853 – March 15, 1856) and 17th United States Secretary of State (March
10, 1845 – March 07, 1849).
|The United States
presidential election of 1856 was the 18th quadrennial presidential
election, held on Tuesday, November 04, 1856. Incumbent president Franklin
Pierce was defeated in his effort to be re-nominated by the Democratic
Party. James Buchanan, an experienced politician who had held a variety of
political offices, was serving as the United States Ambassador to the United
Kingdom and won the nomination instead. Slavery was the omnipresent issue,
while the Whig Party, which had since the 1830s been one of the two major
parties in the U.S., had disintegrated. New parties such as the Republican
Party (strongly against slavery’s expansion) and American, or
“Know-Nothing,” Party (which ignored slavery and instead emphasized
anti-immigration and anti-Catholic policies), competed to replace it as the
principal opposition to the Democratic Party. The Republican Party
nominated John C. Frémont of California as its first presidential candidate.
The Know-Nothing Party nominated former President Millard Fillmore, of New
|Buchanan was inaugurated
on March 4, 1857, taking the oath of office from Chief Justice Roger B.
Taney. In his inaugural address, Buchanan committed himself to serving only
one term, though Pierce had made the same commitment. Buchanan also deplored
the growing divisions over slavery and its status in the territories.
Stating that Congress should play no role in determining the status of
slavery in the states or territories, Buchanan argued for popular
sovereignty. Furthermore, Buchanan argued that a federal slave code should
protect the rights of slave-owners in any federal territory. He alluded to a
pending Supreme Court case, Dred Scott v. Sandford, which he stated would
permanently settle the issue of slavery. In fact, Buchanan already knew the
outcome of the case, and had even played a part in its disposition.
|The Panic of 1857 began in
the summer of that year, ushered in by the sequential collapse of fourteen
hundred state banks and five thousand businesses. While the South escaped
largely unscathed, northern cities experienced drastic increases in
unemployment. Buchanan agreed with the southerners who attributed the
economic collapse to overspeculation.
|The Utah War (1857–1858),
also known as the Utah Expedition, Utah Campaign, Buchanan's Blunder, the
Mormon War, or the Mormon Rebellion was an armed confrontation between
Mormon settlers in the Utah Territory and the armed forces of the United
States government. The confrontation lasted from May 1857 to July 1858.
There were some casualties, mostly non-Mormon civilians. The war had no
notable military battles. Resolution through negotiation even Brigham Young
replaced as Governor of Utah Territory. Full amnesty for charges of sedition
and treason issued to the citizens of Utah Territory by President James
Buchanan on the condition they accept U.S. Federal authority.
|The Kansas-Nebraska Act of
1854 created the Kansas Territory and allowed the settlers there to choose
whether to allow slavery. This resulted in violence between "Free-Soil"
(antislavery) and proslavery settlers in what became known as the "Bleeding
|The 1860 Democratic
National Convention convened in April 1860. Although Stephen Arnold Douglas
led after every ballot, he was unable to win the two-thirds majority
required. The convention adjourned after 53 ballots, and re-convened in
Baltimore in June. After Douglas finally won the nomination, several
southerners refused to accept the outcome, and nominated Vice President John
Cabell Breckinridge as their own candidate. Douglas and Breckinridge agreed
on most issues except for the protection of slavery in the territories.
Failing to reconcile the party, and nursing a grudge against Douglas
(Northern Democratic), Buchanan tepidly supported Breckinridge (Southern
Democratic). With the splintering of the Democratic Party, Republican
nominee Abraham Lincoln won a four-way election that also included John Bell
of the Constitutional Union Party from Tennessee. Though Lincoln had
virtually no support in the South, his support in the North was enough to
give him an Electoral College majority. Buchanan would be the last Democrat
to win a presidential election until the 1880s.
|March 02, 1861: Congress
approved an amendment to the United States Constitution that would shield
"domestic institutions" of the states (which in 1861 included slavery) from
the constitutional amendment process and from abolition or interference by
Congress, and submitted it to the state legislatures for ratification.
(Note: This amendment, commonly known as the Corwin Amendment, has not been
ratified by the requisite number of states to become part of the
Constitution, and is still pending before the states. Three new states were
admitted to the Union while Buchanan was in office: Minnesota (May 11,
1858), Oregon (February 14, 1859) and Kansas (January 29, 1861).
|The Civil War erupted
within two months of Buchanan's retirement. He supported the United States,
writing to former colleagues that "the assault upon Sumter was the
commencement of war by the Confederate states, and no alternative was left
but to prosecute it with vigor on our part". He also wrote a letter to his
fellow Pennsylvania Democrats, urging them to "join the many thousands of
brave & patriotic volunteers who are already in the field". Buchanan caught
a cold in May 1868, which quickly worsened due to his advanced age. Buchanan
died on June 01, 1868, from respiratory failure at the age of 77 at his home
at Wheatland and was interred in Woodward Hill Cemetery in Lancaster.
|Currency: Dollar = 100
Monetary System: Penny = Cent, Trime = 3 Cents, Nickel = 5
Cents, Dime = 10 Cents, Quarter = 25 Cents, Half Dollar = 50, Cents, Dollar
= 100 Cents, Quarter Eagle = $2.50 Gold, Stella = $4.00 Gold, Half Eagle =
$5.00 Gold, Eagle = $10.00 Gold and Double Eagle = $20.00 Gold.
C – Charlotte, N.C., 1838-1861.
CC – Carson City, NV, 1870-1893.
D – Dahlonega, GA, 1838-1861.
D – Denver, CO, 1906-present.
O – New Orleans, LA, 1838-1909.
P – Philadelphia, PA, 1793-present (coins without mintmark also belongs to
S – San Francisco, CA, 1854-present.
W – West Point, NY, 1984-present.
|KM#A64.2 Quarter Dollar (25 cents).
Weight: 5.96 g [6.22
Metal: 0.900 Silver.
Diameter: 24.30 mm. Edge:
Obverse: Sitting Liberty on shield facing left in the center.
Phrygian hat on stick. 13 stars around Sitting Liberty in the top
section. Date written at the
bottom. This type has Drapery added to Liberty's left elbow,
no rays, no arrows beside Date and no Motto banner. No mint mark belongs to Philadelphia, USA.
Reverse: "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" written
at the top section. Eagle with opened wings, looking left, holding
three arrows and olive branch in its claws in the center. "QUAR.DOL." written at
the bottom. Mintage:
1856, 1856O, 1856S, 1856S/S, 1857, 1857O,
1857S, 1858, 1858O, 1858S, 1859, 1859O, 1859S, 1860, 1860O, 1860S,
1861, 1861S, 1862, 1862S, 1863, 1864, 1864S, 1865, 1865S and 1866
Christian Gobrecht (both sides).
This coin is commonly known by coin collectors as "Seated
Liberty Quarter without Motto". The mint mark, "O" or "S" is seen
above "R.D" in "QUAR.DOL.". Two varieties for 1842 and 1842-O are
distinguished by the size of the numerals in the date. 1852 obverse
dies were used to strike the 1853 no-arrows variety, with the 2
being recut to form a 3.
Christian Gobrecht (December 23, 1785 – July
23, 1844) was the third Chief Engraver of the United States Mint
from December 21, 1840 until his death in July 23, 1844. He was
responsible for designing the famous "Seated Liberty" designs, which
were in turn the direct inspiration for the design of the Trade
Dollar. He also designed the Gobrecht Dollar, which was struck in
small quantities from 1836 to 1838 and later inspired the Flying
View below links on
coins issued during the Presidential rulers of United States: