Edited by John W. Quist and Michael J. Birkner
In 1856, four years before the towering figure of Lincoln, Americans chose James Buchanan to provide the leadership that might calm sectional tensions and prevent the shattering of the nation. Many people think Buchanan failed to meet the challenge–after all, his presidency ended in secession and ultimately civil war.
Challenging conventional wisdom, this collection of essays by leading historians takes another look at some of the big issues of the time. You’ll read about Buchanan’s meddling in the Dred Scott case, his role in the push for Kansas statehood, and his impetuous dealings with the Mormons. The book provides a deeper, more nuanced understanding of a flawed president at the vortex of events in a crucial hour of U.S. history.