James Buchanan

James Buchanan, early 1860s
Courtesy of National Archives

In the estimation of most presidential scholars, the Buchanan administration was a failure. At a time when the country needed visionary and creative direction, James Buchanan was unable to provide effective political leadership.

Buchanan avoided public life after his term in the White House. In 1866 he published a book defending and explaining his presidential policies.

James Buchanan's memoir
In 1866 James Buchanan wrote the first published presidential memoir, Mr. Buchanan's Administration on the Eve of the Rebellion, in part to justify his leadership and place in history.