In this paper, I present the story of the personal and political partnership of these two misunderstood figures from the nineteenth-century past and address the questions that have arisen about the pair in modern times. As such, I consider the scholarly methodologies that have been utilized in analyzing similar same-sex relationships and, through such a consideration, argue that intimate male friendships were commonplace among politicians in these years. Most significantly, I find that the relationship of James Buchanan and William Rufus King tested the limits not only of a same-sex friendship, but of the possibilities for cross-sectional cooperation in an increasingly divided Democratic Party and nation. Among the last practitioners of an older generation of political leaders, their relationship would powerfully shape the contours of national events in the two decades before the Civil War. Ultimately, this paper gestures towards how intimate male friendships among politicians were, and continue to be, an important part of political success in the American nation.
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