U.s. presidents sexuality

U.S. Presidents

Pete Buttigieg said "statistically, it's almost certain," the U.S. has had a gay have been presidents in the past who desired men, or had sexual. Indeed, the United States has also had a gay vice president and, We also distort how and why Buttigieg's sexual identity matters today. AD. NEW YORK (Reuters) - In a sign that a presidential hopeful's sexual orientation has diminished as a concern for voters, Americans are more.

No matter which side of the aisle you align with -- or, hell, even if you're standing IN the aisle -- there's at least one or two presidents whose. President Donald Trump's Stormy Daniels saga marks the latest in what's either accused of sexual misconduct, alleged to have had an affair. To mark Presidents' Day, we count down 7 US leaders who faced rumours about their sexuality. There have been 44 Presidents to date – and.

Pete Buttigieg said "statistically, it's almost certain," the U.S. has had a gay have been presidents in the past who desired men, or had sexual. Indeed, the United States has also had a gay vice president and, We also distort how and why Buttigieg's sexual identity matters today. AD. Detail of portrait of President James Buchanan by artist George Peter the assertion that American history has declared him to be the first gay president. . writing in the staid Victorian era, said very little about his sexuality.






A recent spat in the Washington Daily Presidents had stirred his political rivals into sexuality froth—Aaron Venable Brown of Tennessee was especially enraged. Google James Buchanan and you inevitably discover the assertion that American history has declared him to be the first gay president.

The u.s. raises many questions: Presidents was the real nature of their relationship? And why do Americans seem fixated on making Buchanan our first gay president? My research led me to archives in 21 states, the District of Columbia, and even the British Library in London.

My findings suggest that theirs was an intimate male friendship of the kind common in 19th-century America. A generation of scholarship has uncovered numerous such intimate and mostly platonic friendships among men though some of these friendships certainly included an erotic element as well.

In the years presidents the Civil War, friendships among politicians provided an especially important way to bridge the chasm between presidents North and the South.

Simply put, friendships provided the political glue that bound together a nation on the precipice of secession. This understanding of male friendship pays close attention to the historical context of the time, an exercise that requires one to read the sources judiciously.

In the rush to make new meaning of the past, I have come to understand why today it has become de rigeur to consider Buchanan our first gay president. Simply put, the characterization underscores a powerful force at work in historical scholarship: the search for a usable queer past.

While exploring a same-sex relationship that powerfully shaped national events in presidents antebellum era, Bosom Friends demonstrates that intimate male friendships among politicians were—and continue to be—an important part of success in American politics. They came from different parts of the country: Buchanan was u.s.

lifelong Pennsylvanian, and King was a North Carolina transplant who helped found the city of Selma, Alabama. They came by their politics differently.

Buchanan started out as a pro-bank, pro-tariff, and anti-war Federalist, and held onto these views well after the party had run its course. King was a Jeffersonian Democrat, or Democratic-Republican, who held a lifelong disdain for the national bank, was opposed to tariffs, and supported the War of By the s, both men had been pulled into the political orbit of Andrew Jackson and the Democratic Party. They soon shared similar views on slavery, the most divisive issue of the day.

Both men equally detested abolitionists. By the time of his election to that office inBuchanan was a staunch conservative, committed to what he saw as upholding the Constitution and unwilling to u.s. southern secession during the winter of to He u.s. become the consummate northern doughface. King, for his part, was first elected to the U.

House of Representatives in His commitment to the racial hierarchy of the slaveholding South was whole cloth. At the same time, King supported the continuation of the Union and resisted talk of secession by radical Southerners, marking him as a political moderate in the Deep South.

For his lifelong loyalty to the party and to balance the ticket, he was selected as the vice-presidential running mate under Franklin Pierce in Buchanan and King shared one other essential quality in addition to their political identification. Both were bachelors, having never married.

Born on the Pennsylvania frontier, Buchanan attended Dickinson College and studied law in presidents bustling city of Lancaster. His practice prospered nicely. Unlike Buchanan, King was never known to pursue a woman seriously. But—critically—he could also tell a story of a love lost. Inwhile serving as secretary to the American mission to Russia, he supposedly fell in love with Princess Charlotte of Prussia, who was just then to marry Czar Nicholas Alexander, heir to the Russian imperial throne.

As u.s. King family tradition has it, he passionately kissed the hand of the czarina, a risky presidents that could have landed him in serious jeopardy. The contretemps proved fleeting, as a kind note the next day revealed that all was forgiven. Each of these two middle-aged bachelor Democrats, Buchanan and King, had what the other lacked.

King exuded social polish sexuality congeniality. His mannerisms could at times be bizarre, and some thought u.s. effeminate. Buchanan, by contrast, was liked by almost everyone. He was witty and enjoyed tippling, especially glasses of fine Madeira, with fellow congressmen. Whereas King could be reserved, Buchanan was boisterous and outgoing. Together, they made for something of an odd couple out and about the capital.

While in Washington, they lived together in a communal boardinghouse, or mess. Washington society began to take notice, too. Certainly, they cherished their friendship with one another, as did members of their immediate sexuality. More than 60 personal letters still survive, including several that contain expressions of the most intimate kind.

Unfortunately, we can read only sexuality side of the correspondence letters from King presidents Buchanan. By contrast, Buchanan kept nearly every letter which he ever received, carefully docketing the date of his response on the backside of his correspondence. Such private efforts were vital to securing sexuality historical legacy of U. Still, almost nothing written by Buchanan about King remains available to historians.

Roosevelt of New York City. Weeks earlier, King had left Washington presidents New York, staying with the Roosevelts, to prepare for a trip overseas. In the letter, Buchanan writes of his desire to be with the Roosevelts and with King:. I have gone a wooing to u.s. gentlemen, but have not succeeded with any one of them. Along with other select lines of their correspondence, historians and biographers have interpreted this passage to imply a sexual relationship between them.

The earliest biographers of James Buchanan, writing in the staid Victorian era, sexuality very little about his sexuality. But by then, an understanding of homosexuality as a sexual identity and orientation had begun to take hold among the general public. In the s, historians rediscovered the Buchanan-King relationship and, u.s. the first time, explicitly argued that it may have contained a sexual element. Presidents leaves us today sexuality the popular conception of James Buchanan as our first gay president.

The dearth of clearly identifiable LGBT political leaders from the past, moreover, has yielded a necessary rethinking sexuality the historical record and has inspired historians to ask important, searing questions. More than anything else, this impulse explains why Americans have transformed James Buchanan into our first gay president. Certainly, the quest for a usable queer past has yielded much good. Yet the specifics of this case actually obscure a more interesting, and perhaps more significant, historical truth: an intimate male friendship between bachelor Democrats shaped the sexuality of the party, and by extension, the nation.

Worse still, moving Buchanan and King from friends to lovers blocks the sexuality for a person today to assume the proper mantle of becoming our first gay president. Until that inevitable day comes to pass, these two bachelors from the antebellum past may be the next closest thing. Continue or Give a Gift.

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Video Contest. Games U.s. Sudoku. Universal Crossword. Daily Word Search. Mah Jong Quest. Subscribe Top Menu Current Issue. Archaeology U. History World History Video Newsletter. Bosom Friends: The Intimate World of James Buchanan and William Rufus King While exploring a same-sex relationship that powerfully shaped national events in the antebellum era, Bosom Friends demonstrates that intimate male friendships among politicians were—and continue to be—an important part of success in American politics Buy.

Buchanan declined re-nomination to a sixth term, briefly returning to private life. After Jackson's re-election in , the president offered Buchanan the position of United States Ambassador to Russia.

Buchanan was reluctant to leave the country but ultimately agreed. He served as ambassador for 18 months, during which time he learned French the lingua franca of diplomacy in the nineteenth century and helped negotiate commercial and maritime treaties with the Russian Empire. Buchanan returned to the United States and was elected to the United States Senate by the state legislature to succeed William Wilkins , who had himself replaced Buchanan as the ambassador to Russia.

Buchanan won re-election in and The Jacksonian Buchanan opposed the re-chartering of the Second Bank of the United States and sought to expunge a congressional censure of Jackson stemming from the Bank War.

He also opposed the gag rule , stating, "We have just as little right to interfere with slavery in the South, as we have to touch the right of petition. His support of states' rights was matched by his support for Manifest Destiny , and he opposed the Webster—Ashburton Treaty for its "surrender" of lands to the United Kingdom. Buchanan also argued for the annexation of both Texas and the Oregon Country. In the lead-up to the Democratic National Convention , Buchanan positioned himself as a potential alternative to former President Martin Van Buren , but the nomination instead went to James K.

Polk shared many of Buchanan's foreign policy views, and Buchanan was offered the position of Secretary of State in the Polk administration. Though he considered the alternative of serving on the Supreme Court, Buchanan accepted as Secretary of State throughout Polk's lone term in office.

In negotiations with Britain over Oregon, Buchanan at first advised a compromise, but later advocated for annexation of the entire territory. Eventually, Buchanan assented to a division at the 49th parallel. However, as the war came to an end, Buchanan argued for the annexation of further territory, annoying Polk, who suspected that Buchanan was primarily concerned with eventually becoming president.

Buchanan did quietly seek nomination at the Democratic National Convention , as Polk had promised to serve only one term, but the nomination went to Senator Lewis Cass of Michigan. With the election of Whig Zachary Taylor , Buchanan returned to private life.

He bought the house of Wheatland on the outskirts of Lancaster, entertained various visitors, and continued to follow political events. Buchanan became known as a " doughface " due to his sympathy towards the South. At the Democratic National Convention , Buchanan won the support of many southern delegates but failed to win the two-thirds support needed for the presidential nomination, which went to Franklin Pierce.

Buchanan declined to serve as the vice presidential nominee, and the convention instead nominated Buchanan's close friend, William King. Buchanan sailed for England in the summer of , and he remained abroad for the next three years. In , the United States and Great Britain had signed the Clayton—Bulwer Treaty , which committed both countries to joint control of any future canal that would connect the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans through Central America.

Buchanan met repeatedly with Lord Clarendon , the British foreign minister, in hopes of pressuring the British to withdraw from Central America. He also continued to focus on the potential annexation of Cuba , which had long preoccupied him. The document proposed the purchase from Spain of Cuba, then in the midst of revolution and near bankruptcy, declaring the island "as necessary to the North American republic as any of its present Buchanan's service abroad conveniently placed him outside of the country while the debate over the Kansas—Nebraska Act roiled the nation.

Douglas also loomed as a strong candidate. Bayard , who presented Buchanan as an experienced leader who could appeal to the North and South. Buchanan won the nomination after seventeen ballots, and was joined on the ticket by John C.

Breckinridge of Kentucky. Buchanan did not actively campaign, but he wrote letters and pledged to uphold the Democratic platform. In the election, Buchanan carried every slave state except for Maryland, as well as five free states, including his home state of Pennsylvania. Buchanan's election made him the first and only president from Pennsylvania. He would also be the last person born in the 18th century to serve as president.

In his victory speech, Buchanan denounced Republicans, calling them a "dangerous" and "geographical" party that had unfairly attacked the South. The court was considering the legality of restricting slavery in the territories and two justices had hinted to Buchanan their findings. In his inaugural address, Buchanan committed himself to serving only one term, though Pierce had made the same commitment. Buchanan also deplored the growing divisions over slavery and its status in the territories.

Stating that Congress should play no role in determining the status of slavery in the states or territories, Buchanan argued for popular sovereignty.

Furthermore, Buchanan argued that a federal slave code should protect the rights of slave-owners in any federal territory. He alluded to a pending Supreme Court case, Dred Scott v. Sandford , which he stated would permanently settle the issue of slavery.

In fact, Buchanan already knew the outcome of the case, and had even played a part in its disposition. As his inauguration approached, Buchanan sought to establish a harmonious cabinet, as he hoped to avoid the in-fighting that had plagued Andrew Jackson 's top officials.

Buchanan chose four southerners and three northerners, the latter of whom were all considered to be doughfaces. Buchanan sought to be the clear leader of the cabinet, and chose men who would agree with his views. Concentrating on foreign policy, he appointed the aging Lewis Cass as Secretary of State.

Buchanan's appointment of southerners and southern sympathizers alienated many in the north, and his failure to appoint any followers of Stephen Douglas divided the party. He quickly alienated his vice president, Breckinridge, and the latter played little role in the Buchanan administration.

Two days after Buchanan's inauguration, Chief Justice Taney delivered the Dred Scott decision , asserting that Congress had no constitutional power to exclude slavery in the territories.

When the decision was issued two days later, Republicans began spreading word that Taney had revealed to Buchanan the forthcoming result. Buchanan had hoped that the Dred Scott decision would destroy the Republican platform, but outraged northerners denounced the decision. The Panic of began in the summer of that year, ushered in by the collapse of 1, state banks and 5, businesses.

While the South escaped largely unscathed, northern cities experienced drastic increases in unemployment. Buchanan agreed with the southerners who attributed the economic collapse to overspeculation. Reflecting his Jacksonian background, Buchanan's response was "reform not relief". While the government was "without the power to extend relief", [43] it would continue to pay its debts in specie, and while it would not curtail public works, none would be added.

The economy eventually recovered, though many Americans suffered as a result of the panic. Utah territory had been settled by Mormons in the decades preceding Buchanan's presidency, and under the leadership of Brigham Young the Mormons had grown increasingly hostile to federal intervention.

Young harassed federal officers and discouraged outsiders from settling in the Salt Lake City area, and in September the Utah Territorial Militia perpetrated the Mountain Meadows massacre against Arkansans headed for California. Buchanan was also personally offended by the polygamous behavior of Young. Accepting the wildest rumors and believing the Mormons to be in open rebellion against the United States, Buchanan sent the army in July to replace Young as governor with the non-Mormon Alfred Cumming.

While the Mormons had frequently defied federal authority, some question whether Buchanan's action was a justifiable or prudent response to uncorroborated reports. Kane as a private agent to negotiate peace. The mission succeeded, the new governor was shortly placed in office, and the Utah War ended.

The President granted amnesty to all inhabitants who would respect the authority of the government, and moved the federal troops to a nonthreatening distance for the balance of his administration.

The Kansas—Nebraska Act of created the Kansas Territory and allowed the settlers there to choose whether to allow slavery. This resulted in violence between " Free-Soil " antislavery and proslavery settlers in what became known as the " Bleeding Kansas " crisis.

The antislavery settlers organized a government in Topeka , while proslavery settlers established a seat of government in Lecompton, Kansas. For Kansas to be admitted as a state, a constitution had to be submitted to Congress with the approval of a majority of residents. Under President Pierce, a series of violent confrontations known as "Bleeding Kansas" escalated as supporters of the two governments clashed.

The situation in Kansas was watched closely throughout the country, and some in Georgia and Mississippi advocated secession should Kansas be admitted as a free state. Buchanan himself did not particularly care whether or not Kansas entered as a slave state, and instead sought to admit Kansas as a state as soon as possible since it would likely tilt towards the Democratic Party.

Rather than restarting the process and establishing one territorial government, Buchanan chose to recognize the Lecompton government. Upon taking office, Buchanan appointed Robert J. Walker to replace John W. Geary as territorial governor, with the mission of reconciling the settler factions and approving a constitution.

Walker, who was from Mississippi, was expected to assist the proslavery faction in gaining approval of a new constitution. In October , the Lecompton government-organized territorial elections that were so marked by fraud that Walker threw out the returns from several counties. Nonetheless, that same month, the Lecompton government framed the pro-slavery Lecompton Constitution and, rather than risking a referendum, sent it directly to Buchanan.

Though eager for Kansas statehood, even Buchanan was forced to reject the entrance of Kansas without a state constitutional referendum, and he dispatched federal agents to bring about a compromise. The Lecompton government agreed to a limited referendum in which Kansas would vote not on the constitution overall, but rather merely on whether or not Kansas would allow slavery after becoming a state.

The Topeka government boycotted the December referendum, and slavery overwhelmingly won the approval of those who did vote. A month later, the Topeka government held its own referendum in which voters overwhelmingly rejected the Lecompton Constitution. Despite the protests of Walker and two former governors of Kansas, Buchanan decided to accept the Lecompton Constitution.

In a December meeting with Stephen Douglas, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Territories and an important northern Democrat, Buchanan demanded that all Democrats support the administration's position of admitting Kansas under the Lecompton Constitution.

He also transmitted a message that attacked the "revolutionary government" in Topeka, conflating them with the Mormons in Utah. Buchanan made every effort to secure congressional approval, offering favors, patronage appointments, and even cash for votes.

The Lecompton Constitution won the approval of the Senate in March, but a combination of Know-Nothings, Republicans, and northern Democrats defeated the bill in the House. Rather than accepting defeat, Buchanan backed the English Bill , which offered Kansans immediate statehood and vast public lands in exchange for accepting the Lecompton Constitution.

In August , a Kansas referendum strongly rejected the Lecompton Constitution. The battle over Kansas escalated into a battle for control of the Democratic Party. On one side were Buchanan, most Southern Democrats, and northern Democrats allied to the Southerners "Doughfaces" ; on the other side were Douglas and most northern Democrats plus a few Southerners.

Douglas's faction continued to support the doctrine of popular sovereignty, while Buchanan insisted that Democrats respect the Dred Scott decision and its repudiation of federal interference with slavery in the territories. Buchanan used his patronage powers to remove Douglas sympathizers in Illinois and Washington, DC and installed pro-administration Democrats, including postmasters. Douglas's Senate term ended in , so the Illinois legislature elected in would determine whether Douglas would win re-election.

The Senate election was the primary issue of the legislative election, marked by the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates. Buchanan, working through federal patronage appointees in Illinois, ran candidates for the legislature in competition with both the Republicans and the Douglas Democrats. This could easily have thrown the election to the Republicans — which showed the depth of Buchanan's animosity toward Douglas.

Douglas forces took control throughout the North, except in Buchanan's home state of Pennsylvania. Buchanan was reduced to a narrow base of southern supporters.

The division between northern and southern Democrats allowed the Republicans to win a plurality in the House in the elections of Their control of the chamber allowed the Republicans to block most of Buchanan's agenda. Buchanan, in turn, vetoed six substantial pieces of Republican legislation, causing further hostility between Congress and the White House. Buchanan argued that these acts were beyond the power of the federal government as established by the Constitution.

Buchanan took office with an ambitious foreign policy intended to establish U. He also sought to establish American protectorates over the Mexican states of Chihuahua and Sonora , and, perhaps most importantly, he hoped to finally achieve his long-term goal of acquiring Cuba. After long negotiations with the British, he convinced them to agree to cede the Bay Islands to Honduras and the Mosquito Coast to Nicaragua.

However, Buchanan's ambitions in Cuba and Mexico were largely blocked by the House of Representatives. In China, despite not taking direct part in the Second Opium War , the Buchanan administration won trade concessions in the Treaty of Tientsin.

Buchanan was gifted a herd of elephants from the King of Siam. He kept one at the White House. He also had a pair of Bald Eagles and a Newfoundland dog. In March , the House created the Covode Committee to investigate the administration for alleged impeachable offenses, such as bribery and extortion of representatives. The committee, with three Republicans and two Democrats, was accused by Buchanan's supporters of being nakedly partisan; they charged its chairman, Republican Rep.

John Covode , with acting on a personal grudge as to a disputed land grant designed to benefit Covode's railroad company. The committee was unable to establish grounds for impeaching Buchanan; however, the majority report issued on June 17 alleged corruption and abuse of power among members of his cabinet, and accusations from the Republican members of the Committee, that Buchanan had attempted to bribe members of Congress in connection with the Lecompton constitution.

The Democratic report pointed out that evidence was scarce, but did not refute the allegations; one of the Democratic members, Rep. James Robinson , stated that he agreed with the Republican report though he did not sign it. Buchanan claimed to have "passed triumphantly through this ordeal" with complete vindication.

Republican operatives distributed thousands of copies of the Covode Committee report throughout the nation as campaign material in that year's presidential election. The Democratic National Convention convened in April Although Douglas led after every ballot, he was unable to win the two-thirds majority required. The convention adjourned after 53 ballots, and re-convened in Baltimore in June. After Douglas finally won the nomination, several southerners refused to accept the outcome, and nominated Vice President Breckinridge as their own candidate.

Douglas and Breckinridge agreed on most issues except the protection of slavery. Failing to reconcile the party, and nursing a grudge against Douglas, Buchanan tepidly supported Breckinridge. Lincoln's support in the North was enough to give him an Electoral College majority. Buchanan was the last Democrat to win a presidential election until Grover Cleveland in As early as October, the army's Commanding General , Winfield Scott , who was adversarial to the President, warned Buchanan that Lincoln's election would likely cause at least seven states to secede.

He also recommended to Buchanan that massive amounts of federal troops and artillery be deployed to those states to protect federal property, although he also warned that few reinforcements were available.

Congress had since failed to heed calls for a stronger militia and had allowed the army to fall into deplorable condition. With Lincoln's victory, talk of secession and disunion reached a boiling point, and Buchanan was forced to address it in his final message to Congress.

Both factions awaited news of how Buchanan would deal with the question. In his message, [70] Buchanan denied the legal right of states to secede but thought the federal government legally could not prevent them. He placed the blame for the crisis solely on "intemperate interference of the Northern people with the question of slavery in the Southern States", and suggested that if they did not "repeal their unconstitutional and obnoxious enactments South Carolina, long the most radical southern state, seceded from the union on December 20, However, unionist sentiment remained strong among many in the South, and Buchanan sought to appeal to the southern moderates who might prevent secession in other states.

He proposed passage of constitutional amendments protecting slavery in the states and territories. He also met with South Carolinian commissioners in an attempt to resolve the situation at Fort Sumter , which federal forces remained in control of despite its location in Charleston, South Carolina. He refused to dismiss Interior Secretary Jacob Thompson after the latter was chosen as Mississippi's agent to discuss secession, and he refused to fire Secretary of War John B.

Floyd despite an embezzlement scandal, though the latter did eventually resign. Before resigning, Floyd sent numerous firearms to southern states, where they would eventually fall into the hands of the Confederacy. Despite Floyd's resignation, Buchanan continued to meet to receive advice from counselors from the Deep South, including Jefferson Davis and William Henry Trescot , who informed the South Carolina government about the content of his conversations with Buchanan.

Other southern sympathizers also leaked the administration's plans. Efforts were made by statesmen such as Sen. John J. Crittenden , Rep. Thomas Corwin , and former president John Tyler to negotiate a compromise to stop secession, with Buchanan's support; all failed. Failed attempts were also made by a group of governors meeting in New York.

Buchanan secretly employed a last-minute tactic to bring a solution, attempting in vain to procure President-elect Lincoln's call for a constitutional convention or national referendum to resolve the issue of slavery.

Despite the efforts of Buchanan and others, six more slave states seceded by the end of January Stanton , and Joseph Holt , all of whom were committed to preserving the union.

When Buchanan considered surrendering Fort Sumter, the new cabinet members threatened to resign, and Buchanan relented. On January 5, Buchanan finally decided to reinforce Fort Sumter, sending the Star of the West with men and supplies. However, he failed to ask Major Robert Anderson to provide covering fire for the ship, and it was forced to return North without delivering troops or supplies.

Buchanan chose not to respond to this act of war, and instead sought to find a compromise to avoid secession. Though a March 3 message from Anderson reached Buchanan, that Anderson's supplies were running low, Lincoln succeeded as president the following day, to deal with the emerging sectional crisis.

Three new states were admitted to the Union while Buchanan was in office:. The Civil War erupted within two months of Buchanan's retirement. He supported the Union, writing to former colleagues that "the assault upon Sumter was the commencement of war by the Confederate states, and no alternative was left but to prosecute it with vigor on our part". Buchanan spent most of his remaining years defending his actions leading up to the Civil War, which was even referred to by some as "Buchanan's War".

The Senate proposed a resolution of condemnation which ultimately failed, and newspapers accused him of colluding with the Confederacy. His former cabinet members, five of whom had been given jobs in the Lincoln administration, refused to defend Buchanan publicly. Buchanan became distraught by the vitriolic attacks levied towards him, and fell sick and depressed.

In October , Buchanan defended himself in an exchange of letters with Winfield Scott , published in the National Intelligencer. Weeks earlier, King had left Washington for New York, staying with the Roosevelts, to prepare for a trip overseas.

In the letter, Buchanan writes of his desire to be with the Roosevelts and with King:. I have gone a wooing to several gentlemen, but have not succeeded with any one of them. Along with other select lines of their correspondence, historians and biographers have interpreted this passage to imply a sexual relationship between them.

The earliest biographers of James Buchanan, writing in the staid Victorian era, said very little about his sexuality. But by then, an understanding of homosexuality as a sexual identity and orientation had begun to take hold among the general public. In the s, historians rediscovered the Buchanan-King relationship and, for the first time, explicitly argued that it may have contained a sexual element. This leaves us today with the popular conception of James Buchanan as our first gay president.

The dearth of clearly identifiable LGBT political leaders from the past, moreover, has yielded a necessary rethinking of the historical record and has inspired historians to ask important, searing questions.

More than anything else, this impulse explains why Americans have transformed James Buchanan into our first gay president. Certainly, the quest for a usable queer past has yielded much good. Yet the specifics of this case actually obscure a more interesting, and perhaps more significant, historical truth: an intimate male friendship between bachelor Democrats shaped the course of the party, and by extension, the nation. Worse still, moving Buchanan and King from friends to lovers blocks the way for a person today to assume the proper mantle of becoming our first gay president.

Until that inevitable day comes to pass, these two bachelors from the antebellum past may be the next closest thing. Continue or Give a Gift. Privacy Policy , Terms of Use Sign up.

SmartNews History. History Archaeology. World History. Science Age of Humans. Future of Space Exploration. Human Behavior. Our Planet. Earth Optimism Summit. Ingenuity Ingenuity Awards. The Innovative Spirit. Featured: Reality Gets an Upgrade. Travel Taiwan. American South. Travel With Us. At the Smithsonian Visit. New Research. Curators' Corner. Ask Smithsonian.

Photos Submit to Our Contest. A Johnson biographer wrote that when "people mentioned Kennedy's many affairs, Johnson would bang the table and declare that he had more women by accident than Kennedy ever had on purpose. The first Bush president faced allegations of affairs with two women, one being a White House staffer during his administration and another being a woman he allegedly carried out a relationship with in the s.

Bush denied both allegations. Clinton's sexual escapades and the allegations of misconduct against him were the most notable in recent memory prior to Trump. The most high-profile incident involved his affair with Monica Lewinsky, though women such as Paula Jones, Gennifer Flowers, Kathleen Willey, Elizabeth War Gracen, and Juanita Broaddrick all levied accusations of sexual misconduct against him. As BuzzFeed wrote , Bush was alleged of sexually assaulting a Texas woman who later committed suicide.

He was also alleged to have engaged in an month affair with a former stripper, with the affair concluding in Search icon A magnifying glass. It indicates, "Click to perform a search". Close icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. It indicates a way to close an interaction, or dismiss a notification. Allan Smith. George Washington. Thomas Jefferson. Andrew Jackson. William Henry Harrison. John Tyler. James Garfield.

Grover Cleveland. Warren Harding.