The Lost Love Of A Bachelor President

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The strongest traits in his own character led James Buchanan to tragedy in his love for Ann Coleman—and changed history, 40 years later

Our Misplaced President

Historians are still puzzling over the discovery of an official White House portrait of President Roger Darcy Amboy, who appears to have held our nation’s highest office somewhere between Van Buren and Buchanan. Obscured by drapes for over a century, the painting was discovered by an Amboy descendant who had come to urethane the baseboards. Read more »

The Inspired Leak

The leak was known of old. It can afflict either a ship or a government, it invariably means that something invisible has gone wrong, and in certain cases it ends in disaster. It is instructive to reflect on the differences between the leak as known to mariners and the leak as known to politicians, political scientists, and newspaper correspondents. Read more »

As Well As The Art Of Diplomacy, There Are Also The Arts Of Diplomacy

On any list of events that have altered the course of history the opening of Japan to foreign trade in 1854 must surely rank high. While the United States was pushing its boundaries westward to the Pacific and reaching the early stages of industrialization, Japan lay cradled in the tight shell of its own seventeenth century. Under an absolute ban on intercourse with the rest of the world imposed in 1638, Japanese citizens could not leave the islands, and foreigners could not enter them.Read more »

He Did Hold Lincoln’s Hat

Senator Douglas’ act is verified, at last, by first-hand testimony

Did Lincoln, just before he rose to speak, look about in embarrassment for a place to put his new stovepipe hat? Did Senator Douglas, springing forward, bow, say “Permit me,” and then take the hat to hold on his knee during the address? If he did, the act could be symbolic. The leader of northern Democrats, who had polled 1,375,000 votes for President as against Lincoln’s 1,866,000, would thus indicate his readiness to support the new President against southern secessionists.