Monday, July 19, 2004

TomPaine.com - Archives - The Other Buchanan Controversy

TomPaine.com - Archives - The Other Buchanan Controversy Professional discussion regarding sociologist Jim Loewen's book which claims that US President James Buchanan was gay.

From the site:

Wheatland, Buchanan's house in Lancaster, is open to tourists, but visitors will never learn that he was homosexual or much else about him.

In life, Buchanan was not very far in the closet. For many years in Washington, he lived with William Rufus King, Senator from Alabama. The two men were inseparable; wags referred to them as "the Siamese twins." Andrew Jackson dubbed King "Miss Nancy," and Aaron Brown, a prominent Democrat, writing to Mrs. James K. Polk, referred to him as Buchanan's "better half," "his wife," and "Aunt Fancy . . . rigged out in her best clothes." When in 1844 King was appointed minister to France, he wrote Buchanan, "I am selfish enough to hope you will not be able to procure an associate who will cause you to feel no regret at our separation." On May 13, Buchanan wrote to a Mrs. Roosevelt about his social life:

"I am now "solitary and alone," having no companion in the house with me. I have gone a wooing to several gentlemen, but have not succeeded with any one of them. I feel that it is not good for man to be alone; and should not be astonished to find myself married to some old maid who can nurse me when I am sick, provide good dinners for me when I am well, and not expect from me any very ardent or romantic affection."

King and Buchanan's relationship, though interrupted from time to time by their foreign service, ended only with King's death in 1853. While Buchanan was born and raised in Pennsylvania, William Rufus King was a Southern slaveholder. Buchanan's pro-slavery politics may have stemmed in part from their 23-year connection.
Buchanan certainly thought highly of King: "He is among the best, purest, and most consistent public men I have ever known, and is also a sound judging and discreet fellow," as well as a "very gay, elegant looking fellow."

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