Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Was Buchanan Gay (and does it matter)?

This is a good piece that argues that was President Buchanan was homosexual and then proceeds to explan why this would matter to us. I like that this starts with the evidence and then goes on why his private life could have affected his public life rather than merely make this a trivia point. Just like how presidential wives effect their politicals, any long term relationship of Buchanan's would do the same and that is the point Loewen makes (by the way, I have read his book Lies My Teacher Told Me - have you?):
He[Buchanan] became a stalwart of the radically pro-slavery wing of the Democratic Party. He supported U.S. expansion into Cuba because he worried that Spain might abolish slavery, leading to another black-run nation like Haiti. He appointed Howell Cobb Secretary of the Treasury; Cobb later became the first president of the Confederacy, before Jefferson Davis. He let his Secretary of War, John B. Floyd, soon to become a Confederate general, ship nearly 200,000 rifles to Southern arsenals. In 1860, Buchanan vetoed a homestead bill providing making Western land available cheaply from the government. He did so because planters opposed it: homesteading would have drawn free men, probably free-soil men, to the West. It had to wait until halfway through Lincoln's administration.

...Yet Buchanan hailed from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, surrounded by Mennonites and Quakers, the most anti-slavery white neighbors one could imagine. His own church, the Presbyterian, refused him membership for years because of his pro-slavery views. Coming from such a background, why would Buchanan endorse such a position? Surely his pro-slavery politics stemmed, at least in part, from his 23-year connection with King [Senator William Rufus King of Alabama]. Certainly Buchanan 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."

Just like the views and backgrounds of First Ladies often influence Presidents, we can make the same jump here. Even if you believe Buchanan and King's relationship was purely platonic, we can see how their long association would play into Buchanan's beliefs and thereby his decisions as President.

Oh, by the way...you can vote for the best modern president on HNN right now as well...I would liek to know who voted for Harding, by the way.........I will admit I did purposefully NOT vote for who I assumed was winning (and I was right) .

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