Tags: Pets | Presidential History | President | James Buchanan | pets

First Pets: Four-Legged or Feathered Friends of President James Buchanan

By    |   Thursday, 04 Feb 2016 02:35 PM

Pets provide love, joy, and a sense of calmness to all who own them. This is true for the presidents, all but one of whom had pets while in office. Relying on animals for love and support, President James Buchanan was no exception.

Buchanan was the only president never to marry, so his animals provided a lot of needed companionship. According to the Presidential Pet Museum, he had several pets while in the White House. The first was a toy terrier named Punch. Next, he had a Newfoundland named Lara who, despite the implication from his name, was male. Finally, he had a pair of bald eagles.

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Born in 1791, Buchanan was always a stately man. The White House Historical Association noted that he served five terms in the House of Representatives, took a break from Washington while serving as minister to Russia, and then returned and served on the Senate for 10 years. Next, he served as secretary of state under Polk and Minister to Great Britain under Pierce. These positions helped him earn the Democratic nomination for president in 1856 because his necessary foreign travel kept him out of the tense skirmishes at home. He ultimately won the election that year and served as president of the United States from 1857 to 1861.

During his time in office, Buchanan was somehow unable to grasp the ferocity of the tension between northerners and southerners regarding slavery. He believed that he could quell some, if not all, of the ill feelings by urging Americans to accept laws about slavery as they were allowed by the Constitution. When the Supreme Court decided in favor of slavery in the Dred Scott decision, southerners were thrilled, but northerners were furious. Once Abraham Lincoln had won the election of 1860, Buchanan completed his term in relative inactivity, not wanting to heighten sectional tempers any further.

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Pets provide love, joy, and a sense of calmness to all who own them. This is true for the presidents, all but one of whom had pets while in office. Relying on animals for love and support, President James Buchanan was no exception.
President, James Buchanan, pets
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2016-35-04
Thursday, 04 Feb 2016 02:35 PM
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