James M. Buchanan (diplomat)

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James Madison Buchanan, Baltimore jurist and diplomat

James M. Buchanan (May 1803 – August 23, 1876) was a Baltimore, Maryland jurist and diplomat.


James Madison Buchanan was born in Pikesville, Maryland in May 1803.[1] (Some sources indicate 1802.) He attended Baltimore College and St. Mary's College of Baltimore, studied law with Hugh Davey Evans and Walter Dorsey, and became an attorney in Baltimore.[2]

A Democratic-Republican, Buchanan served in the Maryland House of Delegates in 1826 & 1829.[3] Later a Democrat, he campaigned for Andrew Jackson for President in 1824 and 1828, and attended numerous local and state party conventions as a Delegate.[4] In the 1830s he joined the militia as an aide-de-camp to the Commander of the Baltimore City Guards.[5] Buchanan became a Whig in the 1830s, but later returned to the Democratic party.[6]

Buchanan served as Baltimore's Postmaster during the administration of James K. Polk,[7] and he was President of Maryland's 1850-1851 constitutional convention.[8] In 1852 he was appointed as one of Maryland's Commissioners for resolving the state's boundary with Pennsylvania, and in 1855 he was appointed a Judge on Maryland's Circuit Court.[9]

In 1856 Buchanan was a Delegate to the Democratic National Convention, and supported James Buchanan for President.[10] In 1858 President Buchanan nominated James M. Buchanan as Minister to Denmark, and he served until 1861.[11]

After spending time touring Europe, Buchanan returned to Baltimore and practiced law until his death.[12]

He died in Baltimore on August 23, 1876,[13] and was buried in Baltimore's Green Mount Cemetery.[14] (Some sources indicate that he died in Berkeley, West Virginia.)


  1. ^ James T. White & Company, The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Volume VII, 1897, page 536
  2. ^ Richardson & Bennett, Baltimore: Past and Present, 1871, page 212
  3. ^ John Thomas Scharf, History of Baltimore City and County, 1881, page 819
  4. ^ H. Niles & Son, Niles' Weekly Register, Volumes 35-36, March 25, 1829
  5. ^ Richardson & Bennett, Baltimore: Past and Present, 1871, page 213
  6. ^ H. Niles & Sons, Niles' Weekly Register: The Grand Whig Festival, November 21, 1835, page 197
  7. ^ U.S. Postal Service, A Brief History of the Baltimore Post Office from 1753 to 1930, 1930, page 19
  8. ^ Maryland Constitutional Convention, Proceedings, 1851, page 406
  9. ^ George Sanger, The American Almanac and Repository of Useful Knowledge for the Year 1857, 1856, page 283
  10. ^ Democratic National Convention, Official Proceedings, 1856, page 14
  11. ^ Jesse Frederick Essary, Maryland in National Politics, 1915, page 300
  12. ^ Richardson & Bennett, Baltimore: Past and Present, 1871, page 216
  13. ^ James Grant Wilson, John Fiske, editors, Appletons' Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Volume 7, 1901, page 39
  14. ^ Political Graveyard, Cemeteries and Memorial Sites of Politicians in Baltimore City, accessed July 22, 2013
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Henry Bedinger
United States Ambassador to Denmark
Succeeded by
Bradford R. Wood