Timeline
 
 

1849-1853: Working at Wheatland

 
1849 May - James Buchanan takes up residence at his Lancaster, PA estate, Wheatland; his niece, Harriet Lane, becomes hostess for all of Buchanan’s social activities.
      June 15 - James Polk, 11th President of the US, dies in Nashville, Tennessee.
Oct. 19 - Elizabeth Blackwell graduates from Geneva Medical College; she is the first woman to receive a medical degree in the US.
    Dec. - James Buchanan supports Howell Cobb for Speaker of the House and John Forney for clerk.  
       
1850   James Buchanan Henry (nephew of James Buchanan) attends Princeton.  
    James Buchanan exerts his influence in PA to prevent the passage of any resolutions in favor of the Wilmot Proviso.  
    James Buchanan supports attempts to prevent the Virginia Legislature from issuing resolutions in favor of secession.  
Jan. 1850 - Senator Henry Clay of Kentucky introduces eight resolutions in the Senate regarding free or slave status for new states, known popularly as the Compromise of 1850.
Mar. 7 - Senator Daniel Webster delivers his famous "Seventh of March" speech urging sectional compromise on the issue of slavery.
Mar. 16 - Nathaniel Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter is published.
Mar. 18 - The American Express Company is founded.
Apr. 19 - The US and England sign the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty, providing for the neutrality of a canal to be built across Central America.
May 25 - New Mexico forms its own state government and applies for statehood.
July 1 - The first regular overland mail service west of the Missouri River begins, between Independence, Missouri, and Salt Lake City, Utah.
July 9 - Zachary Taylor, 12th President of the US, dies in office, in Washington, D.C. ; Millard Fillmore becomes the 13th President.
Sep. 9 - California becomes the 31st state in the Union.
Sep. 11 - Swedish soprano Jenny Lind, "the Swedish nightingale," makes her American debut at the Castle Garden Theatre in New York City.
Sep. 18 - Congress passes the Fugitive Slave Bill, requiring the return of runaway slaves to their owners.
Sep. 20 - Congress abolishes the slave trade in the District of Columbia as part of the legislative package called the Compromise of 1850.
Sep. 28 - Brigham Young is named governor of the Utah Territory by President Fillmore.
Sep. 29 - The US Navy and Merchant Marine bans flogging.
Oct. 10 - The Chesapeake & Ohio Canal is completed and opens for business along its entire 184.5 mile length from Washington, D.C. to Cumberland, Maryland.
Oct. 25 - The Southern Rights Association is established, with its goal being the end of slavery.
    Nov. 19 - James Buchanan opens his bid for the presidential nomination in 1852 with a letter to Democrats regarding the Compromise of 1850.  
       
1851   James Buchanan sends nephew James Buchanan Henry to study law in Philadelphia with John Cadwalader.  
    James Buchanan serves as mediator between Dickinson College students and administrators following the dismissal of the college's entire junior class.  
    Jan. 11 - James Buchanan speaks at a festival celebrating the establishment of a regular steamship route between Philadelphia and Liverpool, England.  
Jan. 27 - John James Audubon, naturalist and artist famous for his drawings and paintings of North American birds, dies in New York City.
    Apr. 10 - James Buchanan addresses a letter to the Central Southern Rights Association of Virginia, advocating the doctrine of States’ rights and a strict construction of the Constitution.  
May 6 - John Gorrie is awarded a patent for the first ice-making machine.
June 5 - Uncle Tom's Cabin; or, Life Among the Lowly begins to appear in serial form in the Washington National Era, an abolitionist weekly. Harriet Beecher Stowe's anti-slavery story is published in forty installments over the next ten months. For her story, Mrs. Stowe is paid $300.
July 23 - The Sioux Indians sign the Treaty of Traverse des Sioux, ceding their land in Iowa and Minnesota to the US.
Aug. 22 - The yacht America defeats 14 British ships to win the first America’s Cup.
Sep. 18 - The New York Daily Times, the forerunner of the New York Times, begins publication.
Nov. 14 - Herman Melville's Moby Dick is published.
Dec. 24 - Two-thirds of the books at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. are destroyed in a fire.
Dec. 29 - The first Young Men’s Christian Association is established, in Boston.
       
1852   Feb. 3 - James Buchanan writes to citizens of Baltimore, advocating a Democratic platform consisting of States’ rights, a strict construction of the Constitution, and the conservative expenditure of public funds.  
    James Buchanan visits Richmond, Virginia to promote his candidacy for president.  
    Mar. - John N. Lane (relative of James Buchanan) is born.  
    Mar. 4 - James Buchanan is nominated for president by delegates to the Harrisburg State Convention in a vote of 103 to 30.  
      Mar. 15 - Wells Fargo Company is founded.
      Mar. 20 - Uncle Tom's Cabin is first published in book form.  
    June 1 - James Buchanan is considered as a presidential candidate at the Democratic National Convention in Baltimore, but is not nominated.
 
    June 4 - James Buchanan states that he would not be willing to accept the nomination for vice president.  
      June 29 - Statesman Henry Clay, "the Great Compromiser", dies at the age of seventy-five at the National Hotel in Washington, D.C.
      Aug. 3 - A Harvard crew defeats Yale on Lake Winnepesaukee, New Hampshire, in the first intercollegiate sporting event in the US.
      Aug. 12 - Isaac Merrit Singer is awarded a patent for his continuous-stitching sewing machine.
    Sep. - James Buchanan presides over a Democratic Rally in Reading, PA.  
    Oct. 7 - James Buchanan gives a speech in Greensburg, PA against Whig presidential candidate General Winfield Scott.  
       
1853   James Buchanan becomes president of the board of trustees of Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, PA.  
      Feb. 21 - Congress passes the Coinage Act, authorizing the minting of three-dollar pieces.
    Mar. - James Buchanan is invited by Franklin Pierce to serve as minister to Great Britain.
 
      Mar. 3 - Congress authorizes a survey to find the most practical route for a transcontinental railway.
      Mar. 4 - Franklin Pierce is sworn in as the 14th US President.