On the Eve of the Rebellion President Buchanan noted,

Secession is ... Revolution ... The Union Must and Shall Be Preserved.

In 1856 diplomat and statesman James Buchanan was elected the 15th President of the United States at the age of 65. He inherited an expanding nation that had grown intolerant of one another, divided over the question of slavery and states rights. Following the 1860 election of Abraham Lincoln, South Carolina threatened to secede. In his final message to Congress, President Buchanan recommended amending the Constitution on the subject of slavery, noting that if not left alone the agitation of the slave states would cause the dissolution of the country. Congress refused to act or debate on these issues. Writing to his nephew from Wheatland in April 1861 he said, "The Confederate States have deliberately commenced the civil war, & God knows where it may end. They were repeatedly warned by my administration that an assault on Fort Sumter would be civil war & they would be responsible for the consequences."

We invite you to use the resources on this web site and at Lancaster County's Historical Society and President James Buchanan's Wheatland to learn more about Pennsylvania's only United States President and to explore the important story of his presidency, the fractious political issues of the times, and his private life in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and at his Wheatland estate.


Our Blogs

The History Bucket


Because the world is a bucketful of questions.  And someone's gotta answer them

While working with the object collections of we come across many questions.  Visit here to see some of the more unusual stories that we have uncovered.

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Historically Speaking


The staff and volunteers of the Archives Department at never know what they'll find when working on the documents and records in the collections.  Fortunately, when they do discover something noteworthy they are very willing to share!

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Marianne's PhotoBlog


Because pictures are worth a thousand words, but sometimes they need an interpreter.

You know that cliché about a picture being worth a thousand words? Ok, well, imagine the stories going on in my head after cataloging several hundred photos every single day!

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Wheatland: A Love Story

Who would have guessed that a young lady would fall in love with an old President and his old house?

One Young Lady, One Old House, Two Hundred Years of History

I’m Jennifer Walton, Museum Associate at President James Buchanan's Wheatland, and I love an old President and his old house! Over the past nine years, I’ve learned quite a lot about both, and I would love to share it with you!

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