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According to the stereotype of the modern world, the new generation has adopted a new culture of homosexuality. However, if anyone says, it has been circled since the previous centuries, then do you believe it? Yes, in the historical period, some great personalities were observed in queerness.
Today we’ll talk about a great person of his time. James Buchanan was the first gay President as rumored with William Rufus King. So was he really involved with King? Let’s explore this in the article.
Who Was James Buchanan?
James Buchanan Jr was born on April 23, 1791, and was an American lawyer, diplomat, and politician who served as the 15th president of the United States from 1857 to 1861.
He previously served as secretary of state from 1845 to 1849 and represented Pennsylvania in both houses of the U.S. Congress. He was an advocate for states’ rights, particularly regarding slavery, and minimized the role of the federal government preceding the Civil War. Buchanan was the last president born in the 18th century.
Early Life of James Buchanan
James Buchanan Jr. was born April 23, 1791, in a log cabin in Cove Gap, Pennsylvania, to James Buchanan Sr. (1761–1821) and Elizabeth Speer (1767–1833). His parents were both of Ulster Scot descent, and his father emigrated from Ramelton, Ireland in 1783.
Shortly after Buchanan’s birth, the family moved to a farm near Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, and in 1794 the family moved into the town. His father became the wealthiest resident there, working as a merchant, farmer, and real estate investor.
Buchanan attended the Old Stone Academy in Mercersburg and then Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. He was nearly expelled for bad behavior but pleaded for a second chance and ultimately graduated with honors in 1809.
Later that year, he moved to the state capital Lancaster. James Hopkins, a leading lawyer there, accepted Buchanan as an apprentice, and in 1812 he was admitted to the Pennsylvania Bar.
Many other lawyers moved to Harrisburg when it became the state capital in 1812, but Buchanan made Lancaster his lifelong home. His income rapidly rose after he established his practice, and by 1821 he was earning over $11,000 per year.
He handled various types of cases, including a much-publicized impeachment trial where he successfully defended Pennsylvania Judge Walter Franklin.
The Career of James Buchanan
Buchanan began his political career as a member of the Federalist Party and was elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in 1814 and 1815. The legislature met for only three months a year, but Buchanan’s service helped him acquire more clients.
Politically, he supported federally-funded internal improvements, a high tariff, and a national bank. He became a strong critic of Democratic-Republican President James Madison during the War of 1812.
He was a Freemason and served as the Master of Masonic Lodge No. 43 in Lancaster and as a District Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania.
Was James Buchanan Gay?
In 1818, Buchanan met Anne Caroline Coleman at a grand ball in Lancaster, and the two began courting. Anne was the daughter of wealthy iron manufacturer Robert Coleman. She was also the sister-in-law of Philadelphia judge Joseph Hemphill, one of Buchanan’s colleagues.
By 1819, the two were engaged but spent little time together. Buchanan was busy with his law firm and political projects during the Panic of 1819, which took him away from Coleman for weeks at a time.
Rumors abounded, as some suggested that he was marrying her only for money; others said he was involved with other (unidentified) women. Letters from Coleman revealed she was aware of several rumors.
She broke off the engagement, and soon afterward, on December 9, 1819, suddenly died. Buchanan wrote to her father for permission to attend the funeral, which was refused.
After Coleman’s death, Buchanan never courted another woman. At the time of her funeral, he said that “I feel happiness has fled from me forever.” During his presidency, an orphaned niece, Harriet Lane, whom he had adopted, served as the official White House hostess.
There was an unfounded rumor that he had an affair with President Polk’s widow, Sarah Childress Polk.
Buchanan’s lifelong bachelorhood after Anne Coleman’s death has drawn interest and speculation. Some conjecture that Anne’s death merely served to deflect questions about Buchanan’s sexuality and bachelorhood.
Several writers speculated that he was homosexual, including James W. Loewen, Robert P. Watson, and Shelley Ross. One of his biographers, Jean Baker, suggests that Buchanan was celibate, if not asexual.
Buchanan had a close relationship with William Rufus King, which became a popular target of gossip. King was an Alabama politician who briefly served as vice president under Franklin Pierce.
Buchanan and King lived together in a Washington boardinghouse and attended social functions together from 1834 until 1844. Such a living arrangement was then common, though King once referred to the relationship as a “communion”.
Andrew Jackson called King “Miss Nancy” and Buchanan’s Postmaster General Aaron V. Brown referred to King as Buchanan’s “better half”, “wife”, and “Aunt Fancy”.
Loewen indicated that Buchanan late in life wrote a letter acknowledging that he might marry a woman who could accept his “lack of ardent or romantic affection”. Catherine Thompson, the wife of cabinet member Jacob Thompson, later noted that “there was something unhealthy in the president’s attitude.”
After, delving deep into the life of James it can be speculated that he had a close relationship with a male co-partner after the death of his wife and never marry throughout his life.