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Children's LiteratureAuthor Donovan tells the story of James Buchanan, the fifteenth president of the United States. Buchanan was born on April 23, 1792, in a log cabin in Pennsylvania. His father immigrated to the United States from Ireland, settled in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and married Elizabeth Speer. After their first child died, James was born, followed by two sisters, Jane and Maria. Eventually, eight more children were born into the family. As a boy, Buchanan helped his father in his small trading store until the age of sixteen when he went to Dickinson College. In 1809, he graduated with honors. Buchanan then went on to study law and became interested in politics. He ran for state assemblyman and won this office in 1814. He then went on to become a congressman and began his term in 1821. He served three terms. Buchanan then became a U.S. senator in 1834 and worked on the slavery issue and the expansion of new states to the Union. He thought slavery was wrong and thought the U.S. should one day occupy all of North America. In 1856, he received the Democratic nomination for president and won the election. His four years in office would not be easy ones. The slavery issue was dividing the north and south, and the country was on the verge of the civil war. Buchanan tried to stop the war, but he could not. He lost re-election to Abraham Lincoln. In 1868, Buchanan died at the age of seventy-eight. Today, there is still debate about whether he could have prevented the civil war. This biography gives good insight into the major issues of the time and the life of the man who tried his best to help solve the problems of slavery and the growth of the United States. Sidebars, a timeline, sources notes, abibliography and further reading and websites are included, as well as black and white photographs. 2005, Lerner Publications Company, Ages 10 up.
—Della A. Yannuzzi