President James Buchanan’s Foreign Policies & The Union

President James Buchanan’s Foreign Policies & The Union

On Friday, September 27, 2019, Dr. John M. Belohlavek will join LancasterHistory as we kick off the 2019 Presidential Lecture Series to discuss how James Buchanan is arguably underestimated, if not misunderstood, as president. His talk will highlight the significance of Buchanan’s foreign policy during his term. For event details and how to register, please scroll to the bottom of this page.

In 1857, a talented Lancastrian brought a unique skill-set in diplomacy to the White House.  No other chief executive, save John Quincy Adams, could rival James Buchanan in length of service and practical experience. His policies echoed views held by many Democrats, endorsing “Manifest Destiny”—the God-given right as Americans to extend the national boundaries across the continent—and the Monroe Doctrine, asserting the United States’ hegemony over Latin America. Buchanan gave these notions his own twist, however, maintaining a drumbeat for incorporating Cuba and parts of Mexico into the Union, while also attempting to add Alaska a decade before William Seward’s “folly.” Buchanan envisioned his foreign policies uniting a flailing nation around common purpose or profits. In this lecture, Belohlavek will discuss Buchanan’s efforts to save his presidency, the Democratic Party, and the Union through the use of foreign policy.

Image of John M. Belohlavek, Ph.D.
John M. Belohlavek, Ph.D.

John M. Belohlavek, Ph.D. is a professor of history at the University of South Florida in Tampa. He received his Ph.D. and M.A. from the University of Nebraska, and his B.A. from Thiel College in Greenville, PA. Belohlavek received a Fulbright-Hays Award from Azerbaijan State University in Baku, Azerbaijan and numerous Excellence in Teaching Awards from the University of South Florida. His recent publications include Patriots, Prostitutes and Spies: Women and the Mexican-American War (Virginia, 2017) and Andrew Jackson: Principle and Prejudice (Routledge, 2016). He is currently researching Best of Luck: A History of the Antebellum Lottery. 



A casual reception will begin at 4pm on Friday, September 27 at LancasterHistory, 230 N. President Ave., Lancaster. The main presentation will begin at 4:30pm in Ryder Hall.

The program is free and open to the public but requires advance registration to guarantee a seat at the presentation. Register online by clicking “Buy Tickets” below or by calling (717) 392-4633. Questions and accessibility requests may be directed to or (717) 392-4633. Ticketholders should bring a paper printout of their tickets or be able to display their tickets on a cellphone or other internet-enabled device to check-in to the lecture.

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Lecture Reception

September 27, 2019 Ryder Hall at LancasterHistory, 230 N. President Avenue Reception 4pm | Presentation 4:30pm FREE | Registration Required