William Rufus DeVane King (1786 – 1853)

William Rufus DeVane King (1786 – 1853)

William Rufus DeVane King, an American politician and diplomat, was born in 1786 and played a significant role in early 19th-century American politics. King served as the 13th vice president of the United States under President Franklin Pierce, from March 1853 until his death in April 1853. Speculation about King's sexuality has arisen due to his lifelong bachelorhood and close relationship with James Buchanan, who later became the 15th President of the United States.



King and Buchanan, both Democrats, became fast friends during their time in the Senate, where they served together for many years. The men developed a close bond, and their intimate friendship led to rumors and speculation about the nature of their relationship. At the time, societal norms discouraged openly discussing homosexuality, and it is challenging to apply modern labels to historical figures.
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King was known for his diplomatic career, serving as a minister to France and helping negotiate the Treaty of Paris in 1831. He was well-regarded for his political acumen and dedication to public service. However, King's career was cut short when he succumbed to tuberculosis just a few weeks after taking office as vice president.


While historical records may not explicitly confirm or deny King's sexual orientation, his relationship with Buchanan remains a topic of historical curiosity. Scholars and historians continue to explore the nature of their friendship, recognizing the limitations of applying contemporary understandings of sexuality to historical figures. King's legacy endures as a dedicated public servant, and discussions about his personal life should be approached with sensitivity to the historical context in which he lived.

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