Minister to Russia

When President James Polk appointed James Buchanan to serve as secretary of state in 1845, ex-President Andrew Jackson was greatly perturbed. "But, you yourself appointed him minister to Russia in your first term," Polk reminded him. "Yes, I did," Jackson admitted. "It was as far as I could send him out of my sight, and where he could do the least harm. I would have sent him to the North Pole if we had kept a minister there!"

[Had Jackson (who died in 1845) lived another twelve years, he would have been horrified to learn that Buchanan had become America's 15th president. (Upon leaving the White House in March 1861, Buchanan welcomed his successor, Abraham Lincoln, with the following words: "If you are as happy, my dear sir, on entering this house as I am in leaving it and returning home, you are the happiest man in this country.")]

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