|James Buchanan, left; J.R. King, right.|
Fast forward to Washington.
Historian James W. Loewen has done extensive research into Buchanan’s personal life, and he’s convinced Buchanan was gay.
Loewen is the author of the acclaimed book “Lies Across America,” which examines how historical sites inaccurately portray figures and events in America’s past.
“I’m sure that Buchanan was gay,” Loewen said. “There is clear evidence that he was gay. And since I haven’t seen any evidence that he was heterosexual, I don’t believe he was bisexual.”
According to Loewen, Buchanan shared a residence with William Rufus King, a Democratic senator from Alabama, for several years in Washington, D.C.
Loewen said contemporary records indicate the two men were inseparable, and wags would refer to them as “the Siamese twins.”
Loewen also said Buchanan was “fairly open” about his relationship with King, causing some colleagues to view the men as a couple.
For example, Aaron Brown, a prominent Democrat, writing to Mrs. James K. Polk, referred to King as Buchanan’s “better half,” “his wife” and “Aunt Fancy … rigged out in her best clothes.”
In 1844, when King was appointed minister to France, he wrote Buchanan, “I am selfish enough to hope you will not be able to procure an associate who will cause you to feel no regret at our separation.”
Loewen also said a letter Buchanan wrote to a friend after King went to France shows the depth of his feeling for King.
“I am now solitary and alone, having no companion in the house with me,” Buchanan wrote. “I have gone a wooing to several gentlemen, but have not succeeded with any one of them. I feel that it is not good for man to be alone; and should not be astonished to find myself married to some old maid who can nurse me when I am sick provide good dinners for me when I am well, and not expect from me any very ardent or romantic affection.”
Wow. That's kind of telling. I guess there really is nothing new under the sun.