Why is PA's James Buchanan Ranked So Low?

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Department 1



Michael Birkner’s participation on WITF’s Smart Talk focused on Pennsylvania’s only president, James Buchanan. Together with John Quist of Shippensburg University, his collaborator on the book James Buchanan and the Coming of the Civil War (University Press of Florida), Birkner fielded questions from host Scot Lemar relating to Buchanan’s political philosophy, his road to the White House, his handling of sectional issues and the secession crisis, as well as his personal qualities. “Does James Buchanan deserve a better reputation than he has generally been accorded by scholars and the public?” Lemar asked. Birkner’s response: “In a word, no.” For the full interview, see this link.

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This piece originally aired on WITF's Smart Talk. Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.