The President & The Secretary: The Troubled Partnership of James K. Polk and James Buchanan

The President & The Secretary: The Troubled Partnership of James K. Polk and James Buchanan

The Zoom link for tonight’s presentation was emailed to registered attendees at approx. 12:22pm ET.
If you did not receive it, please check junk/spam first and then email prior to 5pm ET. Thank you!

On Thursday, May 18, join LancasterHistory as we welcome American University’s Dr. Michael David Cohen to discuss how James Buchanan came to join President James K. Polk’s cabinet and how the two cooperated and clashed on the Mexican-American War, a potential Buchanan presidency, and the liberation of a Black US citizen from enslavement overseas.

Dr. Michael David Cohen.
Dr. Michael David Cohen.

James Buchanan served as Secretary of State during James K. Polk’s presidency (1845-1849). Though both Democrats and Republicans aligned on many major issues, they occasionally sparred over questions of both policy and propriety. Polk even contemplated firing Buchanan more than once! Learn more about how these two powerful politicians clashed and cooperated over domestic and international affairs in this Presidential Lecture.

Dr. Michael David Cohen is a historian of nineteenth-century America. A research professor at American University, he currently serves as editor of the Correspondence of Zachary Taylor and Millard Fillmore. From 2009 to 2019, he edited the Correspondence of James K. Polk, completing a fourteen-volume print and digital edition of the 11th president’s letters. He earned a Ph.D. at Harvard University and has published two books: Reconstructing the Campus: Higher Education and the American Civil War (2012) and James K. Polk and His Time: Essays at the Conclusion of the Polk Project (2022).


This event is expected to take place in person at LancasterHistory on Thursday, May 18, 2023. Doors open and the reception begins at 5pm. The lecture will begin at 5:30pm. The lecture will also be streamed to Zoom at 5:30pm for those who wish to join us virtually.

This program is free and open to the public. In-person attendance requires advance registration in order to guarantee a seat. Due to capacity restrictions, tickets may not be available at the door. Virtual attendance requires advance registration in order to receive the Zoom link. Register online by clicking the appropriate link below or by calling (717) 392-4633. Registration will close online on Thursday, May 18 at 5:30pm. The online version of this program will also be recorded and uploaded to LancasterHistory’s YouTube channel after the event.



By purchasing a ticket to our facility and/or program, you are agreeing to our Admissions & Programs Terms and Conditions.

PLEASE NOTE: Prior to May 18, please confirm the location of this event as it may change due to community health concerns or weather conditions. LancasterHistory will notify ticketholders of any change in date or venue, such as a change to an online-only program. Attendees should also consult LancasterHistory’s Health & Safety Protocols prior to attending any lecture in person for the most up-to-date information on our practices and policies.

Membership Makes History Happen! Your membership enables us to bring dynamic speakers to LancasterHistory and gives you other exciting benefits! Learn more about becoming a member of LancasterHistory or renewing your membership today.

In-Person Event Lecture Online/Virtual Event

May 18, 2023 At LancasterHistory & Online via Zoom 5pm Reception | 5:30pm Lecture Free | Registration Required