1809-1820: Early Legal Career
1809   Apr. 23 - James Buchanan celebrates his eighteenth birthday.  
spacer spacer spacer June 10 - The Phoenix becomes the first steamboat to navigate in the open sea, making a 13-day voyage from Philadelphia to New York.
    Sep. 19 - James Buchanan graduates from Dickinson College.  
  spacer Dec. - James Buchanan goes to Lancaster, PA to study law with James Hopkins; he lives in the Widow Duchman's Inn on East King Street. spacer
1810 spacer spacer Oct. 1 - The Berkshire Cattle Show in Pittsfield , Massachusetts, becomes the first state fair in the US.
      Oct. 27 - President James Madison annexes West Florida.
1811   Edward Young Buchanan (brother of James Buchanan) is born.  
      Feb. 2 - A group of settlers from Russia land at Bodega Bay in northern California and establish Fort Ross.
      Feb. 22 - President James Madison orders trade with England ceased.
      Sep. 11 - The New Orleans sets sail down the Ohio River, becoming the first inland steamboat in the US.
      Nov. 7 - A force of American soldiers commanded by William Henry Harrison defeats the Indians at the Tippecanoe River, in Indiana.
      Nov. 20 - Construction of the Cumberland Road, to connect Cumberland, Maryland, with Wheeling, West Virginia, begins.
      Dec. 16 - An earthquake strikes in Missouri, changing the course of the Mississippi River and creating Reelfoot Lake in Tennessee.
1812   James Buchanan finishes his preceptorship with James Hopkins.  
    James Buchanan goes to Kentucky to defend his father's title to land in Elizabethtown, but decides to give the case to another attorney.  
      Mar. 3 - Congress approves the first foreign aid, for the relief of earthquake victims in Venezuela.
      Mar. 14 - Congress authorizes the first war bonds, to help finance the War of 1812.
      Apr. 30 - Louisiana joins the Union as the 18th state.
      June 18 - President James Madison signs a declaration of war against Great Britain, marking the beginning of the War of 1812.
      Aug. 16 - Detroit surrenders to the British commanded by General Isaac Brock, during the War of 1812.
      Sep. 21 - Czar Alexander I of Russia offers to mediate in the war between the US and England.
      Oct. 4 - American forces defeat the British at Ogdensburg, New York, during the War of 1812.
      Oct. 9 - The British ships, Detroit and Caledonia, are captured by American forces on Lake Erie, during the War of 1812.
      Oct. 13 - One thousand US troops are killed or wounded at the Battle Queenstown Heights, Canada, during the War of 1812.
      Oct. 25 - The US frigate, United States, commanded by Captain Stephen Decatur, captures the British frigate, Macedonian, off the Madeira Islands, during the War of 1812.
      Oct. 26 - The British announce a naval blockade of Chesapeake and Delaware Bays, during the War of 1812.
    Nov. 17 - James Buchanan returns to Lancaster, PA from Kentucky and is admitted to the PA Bar.  
      Dec. 29 - The British frigate, Java, is destroyed by the US frigate, Constitution, off the coast of Brazil, during the War of 1812.
1813   Jane Buchanan (sister of James Buchanan) marries Elliot Tole Lane.  
    Feb. 20 - James Buchanan opens his law office on East King Street in Lancaster, PA.  
    Mar. 3 - James Buchanan is appointed prosecutor for Lebanon County, PA.  
      Feb. 24 - The American sloop, Hornet, sinks the British sloop, Peacock, off the coast of Guiana , during the War of 1812.
      Apr. 14 - American forces commanded by General James Wilkinson capture Mobile, Alabama, from the British, during the War of 1812.
      Apr. 27 - American General Zebulon Pike is killed as the Americans force the British to surrender York, Canada, during the War of 1812.
      May 9 - General William Henry Harrison turns back a siege of Fort Meigs by Shawnee military leader Tecumseh and British general Henry A. Proctor.
      Sep. 3 - The term “Uncle Sam” is used for the first time in the Troy Post in Troy, New York .
      Sep. 10 - The American fleet commanded by Oliver Hazard Perry defeats the British at the Battle of Lake Erie, during the War of 1812.
      Oct. 5 - Shawnee Indian Chief Tecumseh, allied with the British, is killed at the Battle of the Thames, in Ontario, Canada, during the War of 1812.
1814   James Buchanan and John Passmore buy a tavern on East King Street in Lancaster, PA, where the two men live and keep their offices.  
    Jan. 27 - Congress authorizes the establishment of a US Army of over 62,000 men.  
      Mar. 29 - An American force commanded by General Andrew Jackson defeats the Creek Indians at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend, Alabama, ending the Creek War.
      Apr. 6 - Napoleon Bonaparte is deposed in France, freeing the British to concentrate on the War of 1812 with the US.
      May 23 - Andrew Jackson becomes Major General of the US Army.
      July 22 - The Delaware, Miami, Seneca, and Wyandot Indians sign the Treaty of Grenville, making peace with the US.
      Aug. 9 - Major General Andrew Jackson signs the Treaty of Fort Jackson ending the Creek War.
    Aug. 24 - James Buchanan is president of a Federalist organization, the Washington Association, by this time.  
    Aug. 24 - James Buchanan is nominated by Peter Diller of the Lancaster Federalist Party for the office of state representative.  
      Aug. 24 - The British capture Washington, D.C., setting fire to several buildings, including the Capitol and the White House, during the War of 1812.
    Aug. 25 - James Buchanan makes his first public speech at a meeting in Lancaster, PA, in which he urges the residents to join the fight against the British. Following this meeting, he joins a company of private volunteers, known as the Lancaster County Dragoons, under Judge Henry Shippen. His company marches to Baltimore, Maryland, where they serve under Major Charles Sterret Ridgely of the Third Cavalry Regiment until honorably discharged.  
      Sep. 13 - Francis Scott Key composes the Star Spangled Banner during the Battle of Fort McHenry, Baltimore.
    Oct. - James Buchanan is elected to the PA House as a Federalist, beating Isaac Wayne; he becomes a member of the Judiciary Committee immediately upon taking his seat.  
      Dec. 24 - The US and England sign the Treaty of Ghent, ending the War of 1812.
1815     Jan. 08 - Major General Andrew Jackson leads a small army to victory against eight thousand British troops at the Battle of New Orleans.
      Jan. 30 - President James Madison approved an act of Congress appropriating $23,950 to purchase Thomas Jefferson's library of 6,487 volumes.
    Feb. 1 - State Representative Buchanan makes his first formal speech as a public official, arguing against a Conscription Bill and in favor of a Voluntary Enlistment Bill. His argument is so much in opposition to Federalist doctrine that William Beale, Democratic senator from Mifflin County, advises Buchanan to join the Democrats, which he declines to do at that time.  
      Feb. 6 - American inventor John Stevens is granted the first railroad charter.
      Mar. 3 - Congress declares war against Algeria, a result of interference with American shipping by the Algerians.
      June 30 - A treaty ends the US war with Algeria and the Barbary Coast pirates.
    July 4 - State Representative Buchanan delivers an oration before Lancaster's Washington Association, criticizing the Democratic Party, James Madison's administration, and the federal government's handling of the War of 1812.  
    Oct. - State Representative Buchanan is reelected to the PA House as a Federalist.  
    Dec. - State Representative Buchanan begins his second term in the PA House as a member of the Judiciary Committee and the Committee on Banks.  
1816   James Buchanan returns to his law practice in Lancaster, PA, sharing his office on East King Street with Molton Rogers.  
    James Buchanan loses three tracts of Warren County, PA land to Molton Rogers in a wager on the 1816 election.  
    James Buchanan successfully defends Judge Walter Franklin on impeachment charges.  
      Jan. 1 - The public debt reaches over $100 million for the first time.
      Apr. 11 - The African Methodist Church in Philadelphia becomes the first African-American church in the US.
      May 11 - The American Bible Society is formed in New York .
    Oct. - James Buchanan is chosen as a manager for an annual society ball in Lancaster, PA.  
    Nov. - James Buchanan applies for membership in the Masonic Lodge and is sponsored by Molton Rogers and John Reynolds.  
      Dec. 11 - Indiana joins the Union as the 19th state.
    Dec. 12 - James Buchanan is initiated as a new member of the Masonic Lodge; within several years he becomes deputy grand master of the first district.  
      Dec. 13 - The Provident Institution for Savings in Boston becomes the first savings bank in the US.
1817   James Buchanan, assisted by James Hopkins and Mr. Condy, successfully defends Judge Walter Franklin against a second set of impeachment charges.  
      Nov. 20 - Florida Indians are attacked by settlers retaliating for Indian raids, beginning the First Seminole War.
      Dec. 10 - Mississippi joins the Union as the 20th state.
      Dec. 27 - General Andrew Jackson takes command of American troops, during the First Seminole War.
1818   James Buchanan successfully defends Judge Walter Franklin against a third set of impeachment charges.
    James Buchanan begins courting Ann Caroline Coleman.  
      Jan. 5 - The James Monroe, the first ocean liner, sails from New York on its maiden voyage to Liverpool, England.
      Apr. 4 - Congress limits the number of stripes on the American flag to thirteen, providing that a new star be added for each new state.
      Apr. 28 - The US and Canada sign the Rush-Bagot Agreement, making the Great Lakes neutral.
      May 24 - American troops commanded by General Andrew Jackson capture Pensacola, Florida, during the First Seminole War.
      Dec. 3 - Illinois enters the Union as the 21st state.
1819     Feb. 22 - Spain cedes its land in Florida to the US, signing the Florida Purchase Treaty.
      May 24 - The Savannah becomes the first steamship to cross the Atlantic Ocean sailing from Savannah, Georgia, to Liverpool, England, in 27 days.
    July - James Buchanan becomes engaged to Ann Caroline Coleman.  
    James Buchanan handles a case pertaining to the Columbia Bridge Company.  
    Nov. 23 - James Buchanan serves on a local Federalist Party committee, which prepares official resolutions instructing the district congressman to oppose the extension of slavery to Missouri.  
    Dec. - Ann Caroline Coleman breaks her engagement to James Buchanan.  
    Dec. 6 - James Buchanan reaches a settlement out of court in the Columbia Bridge Company case.  
    Dec. 9 - Ann Caroline Coleman (former fiancée of James Buchanan) dies in Philadelphia.  
    Dec. 12 - Ann Caroline Coleman (former fiancée of James Buchanan) is buried at the St. James Episcopal Church in Lancaster, PA.  
      Dec. 14 - Alabama joins the Union as the 22nd state.

James Buchanan represents Bowman in Bowman v. Königmacher.

      Mar. 3 - Congress passes the Missouri Compromise, with Maine to be admitted to the Union as a free state and Missouri as a slave state, along with restrictions on the spread of slavery into new territories.
      Mar. 15 - Maine joins the Union as the 23rd state.
    June - James Buchanan becomes legal advisor to ironmaster Cyrus Jacobs.  
      July 15 - American explorer Edwin James becomes the first man to climb Pike’s Peak.
    Aug. 25 - James Buchanan is nominated by Lancaster, PA "Republican Federalists," or "Federal-Republicans," for the US House.  
    Oct. - James Buchanan is elected to the US House from a district composed of Lancaster, Dauphin, and Lebanon counties in PA.  
      Nov. 18 - American sailor Nathaniel B. Palmer, Captain of the sloop, Hero, discovers Antarctica.