James Buchanan (1791-1868) was 15th president of the United States. He was born in Pennsylvania and served in the War of 1812. Before he was elected to the office of President of the United States, he served as a Representative in Congress, U.S. Minister to Russia and to Great Britain, Senator and Secretary of State. His presidency (1857-1861) came at the brink of the Civil War, and some have faulted Buchanan for his failure to avert the sectional crisis that finally boiled over as he left office. Buchanan's niece, Mrs. Harriet Lane Johnston, who had served as the unmarried president's hostess, left a bequest to build this memorial upon her death in 1903. Many opposed the memorial's construction, finding it improper to honor Buchanan ahead of presidents such as Adams or Jefferson. After many years in limbo, the memorial was finally approved by Congress on June 27, 1918 (40 Stat. 632).
Cost: Harriet Lane Johnston left $115,000 for the memorial to be built.
Dedicated: June 26, 1930
Sculptor: Hans Schuler
The memorial consists of a bronze seated statue of President Buchanan. The platform is granite, with two figures representing Law and Diplomacy.
Hans Schuler 1929
James Buchanan of Pennsylvania / President of the United States / MDCCCLVII MDCCCLXI
The Incorruptible Statesman Whose Walk was Upon the Mountain Ranges of the Law