Constitution Daily

Smart conversation from the National Constitution Center

Newsweek cover put focus back on James Buchanan

May 15, 2012 by NCC Staff


Newsweek's sensationalist cover proclaiming Barack Obama as the first gay president has upset some people who think James Buchanan really merits the title.

Buchanan has long been the subject of rumors about his private life, but there isn't concrete proof one way or another. (It doesn't help that Buchanan was one of the most obscure of all the presidents.)

The personal lives of presidents have long been the source of speculation, exaggeration, and even fabrication.

Even before then, our nation had plenty of scandal fodder--thanks to the mystery and intrigue of some of the Founding Fathers.

Last year, The National Constitution Center's Mark Kehres took us on a tour of the Signers' Hall and lets us in on some personal facts about the men who framed the Constitution.

The reaction to the Newsweek cover was widespread and also led to a lot of attention to James Buchanan, who was in Google’s top 20 trends list for two days.

It turns out Newsweek had considered multiple covers with photo shopped images of President Obama with different same-sex marriage symbols.

As for Buchanan, aside from renewed speculation about his personal life, the renewed attention could focus more light on the president who preceded Abraham Lincoln.

Buchanan hasn’t received high grades from historians, but he did make key decisions that precipitated the Civil War.


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