University Archives


James Buchanan ALS Re: Presidential Veto Power

1p ALS fully engrossed by former President James Buchanan (1791-1868), and signed by him as "James Buchanan" at lower right. Written at his home Wheatland, near Lancaster, Pennsylvania on March 1, 1867, and addressed to George W. Reed (is this the same George W. Reed (1831-1906), a Civil War veteran awarded the Medal of Honor, and a Pennsylvanian like Buchanan?) On bifold paper with expected light folds, a vertical one of which passes through the "Ja" of the signature. A few tiny closed tears along the top edge, and the blank third page is trimmed at right. Else near Fine. Pre-certified PSA/DNA. 5.25" x 7".

In part: “You inquire where you can procure my speeches on the Veto Power. My speech on this subject, somewhat celebrated in its day, was published at length in the Appendix to the Congressional Globe for the Session of 1841, 2, page 133. (2d Session of 27th Congress) I regret that I have not a copy to send you. I presume the volume containing it can be easily found in New York.”

James Buchanan, a gifted lawyer and junior politician, transitioned to the U.S. House of Representatives in the early 1820s, and later served as a Senator from Pennsylvania between 1834-1845. The speech Buchanan referred to here may have been his February 2, 1842 address delivered before the Senate in response to fellow Senator Henry Clay. During Buchanan's presidency some fifteen years later (1857-1861), he personally vetoed seven bills (four regular and three pocket.) A hardline Democrat, Buchanan opposed a federal banking system, supported western expansion, and lobbied for states’ rights. Buchanan was often accused of being a "Doughface", or Northerner with Southern sympathies. His inability to mitigate regionalism left his successor Abraham Lincoln to deal with the Civil War.

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.


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