THE SAGE OF WHEATLAND
BUCHANAN was as anxious to be nominated as Cass was indifferent. He had served his apprenticeship long and faithfully as Senator from Pennsylvania, Minister to Russia and Secretary of State under Polk. To him it was an apprenticeship--an apprenticeship to the Presidency. For a decade he had nourished ambitions, and in 1848 had been Cass' principal competitor before the convention. Immediately after the election of that year he began planning for 1852. He was over six feet in height, white-haired, and benevolent-looking. One of his eyes was near-sighted and the other far-sighted, so that he carried his head slightly askew and appeared peculiarly one-sided. A close observer noted that one of his eyes was blue and the other hazel. A rich but honest old bachelor of benign aspect and precise habits, he had been careful and conscientious, but never brilliant in the fulfillment of his duties. He was not sufficiently adaptable to understand changing conditions; his caution bordered on timidity. His chief characteristics were his conservatism and his desire that everything should proceed decently and in order.1
He had lived all his life in a political atmosphere and had his methodical mind strongly set in politicians' grooves.____________________
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Publication information: Book title: The Democratic Machine, 1850-1854. Contributors: Roy Franklin Nichols - Author. Publisher: Columbia University. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1923. Page number: 53.
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