JOHN PRICE BUCHANAN was born in Williamson, Tennessee. As a teenager he enlisted in the Confederate Army, serving until the Civil War ended. He then farmed and raised stock near Murfreesboro. In 1887 he was elected to the Tennessee House of Representatives from Rutherford County. One year later he became president of the Farmers’ Alliance of Tennessee, which chose him to run for governor in 1890. At the Democratic State Convention, a strong rural and populist contingent nominated him on the sixth ballot, and he went on to win the general election. During the Buchanan administration the agrarian movement peaked in Tennessee, drawing on the ideas of earlier Tennesseeans like Andrew Jackson and Andrew Johnson in purporting to speak for small farmers in the state. Buchanan’s political position was weakened, however, when he called in the state militia to deal with East Tennessee coal miners who rioted over the leasing of convicts to work the mines. In the next general election, running as an Independent (Jeffersonian) Democrat, Buchanan was defeated by the old-line Democratic nominee. He retired from public life, returning to his farm in Rutherford County. He died and was buried in Murfreesboro.
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