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When Responsibility Exceeds Authority

December 10, 2014

Both were born in a log cabin.  Both were U.S. Congressmen.  Both saw their political party die.  Both then joined the newly formed political party of their day.  Both saw states secede from the Union during their Presidency.

James Buchanan was born in a log cabin.  He went to Congress as a Federalist.  He became a Jacksonian Democrat.  During the final months of his Presidency seven states seceded from the Union.

Abraham Lincoln was born in a log cabin.  He went to Congress as a Whig.  He became a Republican.  During the first months of his Presidency four more states seceded.

Buchanan believed secession to be unconstitutional, but he also believed he had no authority to stop it.  He did nothing.

Lincoln was very careful to follow the Constitution, but he recognized he had a responsibility to preserve the Union.  He took unprecedented measures.

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