Featured Buchanan, “The Crisis DEMANDS His Election.”

Discussion in 'Coin Chat' started by johnmilton, Mar 13, 2019.

  1. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    Since I have been posting comments about Franklin Pierce, I thought that you might be interested see a few of the campaign pieces for man most historians rate as the worst United States president in history, James Buchanan. Here is one of his more humous tokens when you consider him in the context of history. The slogan on the reverse reasons, “The crisis demands his election.”

    JB 1856-7 O.jpg JB 1856-7 R.jpg

    Along came James Buchanan, the man who had the perfect resume. You might say that the reverse of this token was like the perfect job application.

    JB 1856-8 O.jpg JB 1856-8 R.jpg

    Every claim here was true. Buchanan had served in Congress and the Senate, had been the Minister to Russia and Great Britian and had served as secretary of state. Few presidental condidates have had such an impressive list of positions held. The trouble was he was an empty suit. He had held the positions but had mote done much of note during his tenure in any of them.

    Buchanan faced two opponents. John C. Fremont was the first presidential candidate for the newly mint Republican Party. He had had an impressive resume as an explorer and been one of California's first two senators. This impressive metal presented his heroic image.

    JF 1856-2 O.jpg JF 1856-2 R.jpg

    The third condidate was former president, Millard Filmore. He was running on the American or "Know Nothing" Party ticket. The Know Nothings were against immigration many civil rights for immigrants. Their platform stated that they had to live in the country for 21 years before they could become citizens and could not be elligable for public office. Filmore's personal positions probably did not agree with that be he saw the Know Nothing nomination as way to get back in the White House. The Know Nothings got their name from the fact the members were asked to say, "I know nothing," when anyone asked them about the party. The slogan on this piece had an anti-immigrant message.

    MF 1856-3 O.jpg MF 1856-3 R.jpg

    Buchanan won the election because the Democrats had the best organizaton. Fremont ran against slavery and therefore was unacceptable to the South.

    Most Buchanan political pieces are not of great interest to collector, but there is one exception. This piece is a rebus which reads "James Buck-Cannon." it is quite rare and usually brings a few thousand dollars when one becomes available.

    JB 1856-2 O Cu.jpg JB 1856-2 R Cu.jpg
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  3. Razz

    Razz Critical Thinker

    Sorry for resurrecting this 7 month old thread but came across this "Old Buck" token. Had a question because of the statement "tried to avert civil war but believed in state rights" on the reverse. Would this have been an after the fact piece trying to salvage his image? Could not find any other posts on CT on James Buchanan so don't know about the timing of the striking of this piece. Any info appreciated. @johnmilton PhotoEditor_20191006_160501842.jpg
    Paul M. and kaparthy like this.
  4. kaparthy

    kaparthy Supporter! Supporter

    Actually, bad as he was, mostly an empty suit, as opposed to other flaws, he was among the worst, but not the worst.
    Historical Rankings of U.S. Presidents summarized here:

    Warren G. Harding was arguably the Number 45 of 45. I recently read a citation about how he was boosted to power from newspaper editor to President mostly because of his good looks and good manners. Those qualities only masked a man of low integrity.

    On the other hand, Ulysses S. Grant also comes off poorly in the polls, but having done my own research for other work, I feel that he was not so much at fault as absent. I think that the war had a lot to do with that.

    Polls being what they are, myself, I would put both Roosevelts near the bottom, though everyone else seems to rank them highly.
    green18 likes this.
  5. Razz

    Razz Critical Thinker

    I guess I am in the majority as the first Roosevelt gave us our national parks and monuments (among other thing like busting up monopolies and giant trusts) and the second pulled us through the great depression and WWII. Can't argue with results IMO.
  6. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    Harding should never have been elected president, but he was not the worst president. James Buchanan and Franklin Piece who supported the slave owners and pushed the country toward the Civil War were worse.

    Harding appointed appointed Charles Evens Hughes as his Secretary of State. Hughes helped to negotiate a naval treaty that brought stability to the world for over a decade. Andrew Mellon was a competent secretary of the Treasury.

    Harding was ahead of his time with respect to civil rights. When he was in Alabama he told an audience that he looked forward to the time when all citizens could would be treated equally.

    It might see like a small point, but Harding realized that he was in the wrong place as president. In a famous quote he wondered what to about a taxation issue. One adviser told him one thing; another told him the opposite. Harding wondered if there was a book that would give him the answers. In another quote, he called the presidency “a hell of a job.” He could deal with his enemies, he said, but he could not deal with his friends. They had him walking the floors at night.

    Contrast this with U.S. Grant, and very weak president, who wanted to run for a third term!
  7. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    This Buchanan piece was issued many years after the Civil War and after he left office.

    In the last months of his presidency, seven states left the Union and formed the Confederate States of America. Buchanan opined that their actions were illegal, but that the remaining states had no legal powers to force them to return to the Union. Buchanan did not want to offend the secessionists.

    When Fort Sumner was under siege, Buchanan sent a privately owned relief ship to aid it. The Confederates fired on the ship, forcing it to withdraw. Buchanan would go no further because he did not want to upset the secessionists.

    In short, Buchanan did nothing to restore the Union and even turned a blind eye when Southerners were taking arms from the Union stores, in preparation for fighting the Union. Buchanan was a northern man (from Pennsylvania) who supported the position of the Confederacy. That was how he got the Democratic Party nomination is 1856. His predecessor, Franklin Pierce, who was from New Hampshire, took the same position. Both of them watched the country drift toward the Civil War,.
  8. Razz

    Razz Critical Thinker

    Thanks for the history lesson!
  9. calcol

    calcol Supporter! Supporter

    Probably no president could have prevented the civil war. There was no way the slave states would tolerate a Republican president, especially not Lincoln. And, between northern abolitionists and unionists, there was no way the North would allow the slave states to secede.

    However, Buchanan could have shortened the civil war by early and decisive action, but he chose do to very little.

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  10. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    I agree. I don't think that there was a political solution to the Civil War, at least not in 1860 or before. The southern plantation owners had too much invested in slaves to simply let them go free. That was one of the reasons why Lincoln grappled with finding a way to compensate them.
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  11. Michael K

    Michael K Well-Known Member

  12. lehmansterms

    lehmansterms Many view intelligence as a hideous deformity

    I couldn't be certain, not having any particular expertise in the field of exonumia in general (aside from my own packrat-like acquisitions I have stowed away) but this looks very like the tokens which were given out as a premiums for gas stations' and supermarkets' promotions in the late 50's, early 60's. They were offered as a series with a new one available each week or two - to keep the customer coming back to the same gas station or supermarket every week, presumably, in hopes of completing the series. I had a couple of tokens nearly indistinguishable in style from this one - and one, which had been accidentally heated, turned this exact odd brown color from its original "goldine" brass (or aluminum-bronze) finish.
    This was in the mid-later 60's.
  13. whopper64

    whopper64 Active Member

    Just another fun fact (but not political), James Buchanan never married because his one true love was denied to him by her wealthy family. They thought that he would never amount to anything and was just after their money through her. All he did was to become President at one of the worst times ever. His hands were tied, and it probably was impossible for anyone else to do any better. Either way, his sweetheart's ghost still haunts a well-known restaurant (former hotel) in Lancaster County to this day.
  14. green18

    green18 Sweet on Commemorative Coins Supporter

    An most excellent post, John Milton.......
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