Martin Van Buren
American President
Martin Van Buren
Martin Van Buren was the eighth President of the United States. Before his presidency, he was the eighth Vice President (1833–1837) and the tenth Secretary of State, under Andrew Jackson (1829–1831). Van Buren was a key organizer of the Democratic Party, a dominant figure in the Second Party System, and the first president not of British or Irish descent—his family was Dutch.
Martin Van Buren's personal information overview.
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In National Politics, Not Exactly an Empire State - New York Times (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
The ranks included Martin Van Buren, Grover Cleveland and a couple of guys named Roosevelt. But no New Yorker has been elected president since FDR became the name of a highway in Manhattan. (Dwight D. Eisenhower was president of Columbia University,
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Rattlesnake Springs: - Cleveland Daily Banner
Google News - over 5 years
The anthropology professor said President Martin Van Buren ordered the construction of 31 removal forts in which to contain the Cherokee people in order to enforce the New Echota Treaty, which was the basis for removing the Cherokee to Indian Territory
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Antebellum churches built by Jarvis Van Buren still in use - Newnan Times-Herald
Google News - over 5 years
In a twist of presidential trivia, Jarvis Van Buren, builder of the church, was a cousin to Martin Van Buren while Hoyt was the maternal grandfather of Ellen Axson Wilson, Woodrow Wilson's first wife. Ellen Wilson was born in Savannah, educated partly
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7 Easy Ways You Can Improve Your Memory Now - USA Weekend
Google News - over 5 years
For example, the name “Andrew Bush” can become A Bush with lots of hands in it, and “Martin Van Buren” can become a Martian in a van that's burning. If you're having trouble learning and retaining new information on your computer screen, whether it's
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New York politicians in national politics - YNN
Google News - over 5 years
There's Roosevelts Teddy and Franklin, Grover Cleveland and Martin Van Buren. "We have a long history that says anyone who moves into Eagle Street, whether he or she likes it or not, and we're yet to have a she, they are immediately considered to be
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Coachella Valley Rescue Mission Distributes 1500 Backpacks Amid Tough Economy - KESQ
Google News - over 5 years
1500 students rushed to Martin Van Buren School on Saturday to receive a new backpack filled with classroom supplies. "I have a journal, crayons, pencils, glue stick and a sharpener," said Viviano Recio, 9. Her brother Juan, 14, managed to get a
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Davy Crockett's Next-To-Last Campaign - Knoxville Metro Pulse
Google News - over 5 years
In November, 1836, Martin Van Buren was elected president of the United States. By then White's campaign had eroded with the addition of regional candidates Daniel Webster and William Henry Harrison. White came in fourth nationally,
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Visitors keep 'Looking for Lincoln' -
Google News - over 5 years
One of Matt's personal favorites is the story board in Rochester about an 1842 meeting between Lincoln, then a state legislator, and Martin Van Buren who had finished his term as president the previous year. Van Buren was on his way to Springfield but
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Happy Birthday, Mr. President! I Have a Crush on You - The Stir
Google News - over 5 years
Martin Van Buren? Yikes. William McKinley? I'll pass. I don't even get the big brouhaha over John F. Kennedy. Better than most, that's for sure — I mean, when you're up against Abraham Lincoln, you're kind of hard-pressed not to come out on top — but
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ARTS | LONG ISLAND; Long Island Duck Hunters’ Clubs Are Focus of Exhibition
NYTimes - over 5 years
RIFLES, decoys and low-slung boats are among the objects and images that greet visitors to “Private Places Public Spaces: Suffolk County’s Elite Hunt Clubs and Regional Decoys,” a new exhibition at the Suffolk County Historical Society in Riverhead. But the show’s aim reaches beyond tracing the history of a recreational
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Birthday Wishes to the US Department of State! - Council on Foreign Relations (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
Five of the first eight presidents first served as secretary of state: Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, and Martin Van Buren. James Buchanan was the sixth and last secretary of state to become president
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IN THE FAMILY; The Story of the Van Dusen Family, One of Manhattan’s Oldest
NYTimes - over 5 years
THE project earned him an easy A. “I was in seventh or eighth grade, and we were asked to do a little genealogy,” recalled Andrew Van Dusen, now a 47-year-old real estate broker specializing in Brownstone Brooklyn. “My dad handed me his file, and it was stunning.” Mr. Van Dusen learned that he was a 12th-generation
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Looks Like Obama Will Keep Joe Biden in 2012 - Sunshine State News
Google News - over 5 years
When George HW Bush won the 1988 presidential election, he was the first sitting vice president to win a presidential election since Martin Van Buren did it back in 1836. Nixon, of course, went from the vice presidency to the White House in 1968 after
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The Van Dusens of New Amsterdam - New York Times
Google News - over 5 years
Two of Abraham's progeny — Martin Van Buren, a great-great-great-grandson; and Franklin Delano Roosevelt (add four more greats) — served as presidents of the United States. A third, Eliza Kortright (Generation 7), married one, James Monroe
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Five Things to Know Today: Thursday, July 21 -
Google News - over 5 years
Former President Martin Van Buren, who served as the eighth president of the United States, slipped into a coma on this date in 1862. He would die three days later. Interested in a follow-up to this article? Great, we'll send you an email as soon as a
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Indiana Plaque Marks A Presidential Tumble - NPR
Google News - over 5 years
A plaque marks the spot where former President Martin Van Buren's carriage overturned into the mud in Plainfield, Ind. A plaque marks the spot where former President Martin Van Buren's carriage overturned into the mud in Plainfield,
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Compromising Debt - Flathead Beacon
Google News - over 5 years
The next president, Martin Van Buren, dealt with big banks, as The Panic of 1837 paved the way to permanent national debt. Former President Ronald Reagan campaigned that “debt was out of control,” but increased it by nearly $2 trillion
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Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Martin Van Buren
  • 1862
    He did not recover, and died of bronchial asthma and heart failure at his Lindenwald estate in Kinderhook at 2:00 a.m. on July 24, 1862, at the age of 79.
    More Details Hide Details He is buried in the Kinderhook Reformed Dutch Church Cemetery, as are his wife Hannah, his parents, and his son Martin Van Buren, Jr. Counties are named for Martin Van Buren in Michigan, Iowa, Arkansas, and Tennessee. Cass County, Missouri was originally named for Van Buren, and was renamed in 1849 to honor Lewis Cass. Cities and towns named for Van Buren include: Arkansas: Van Buren, Arkansas. Indiana:Van Buren, IndianaVan Buren Township, Clay County, IndianaVan Buren Township, Brown County, IndianaVan Buren Township, Monroe County, IndianaVan Buren Township, Grant County, IndianaVan Buren Township, Pulaski County, IndianaVan Buren Township, Fountain County, IndianaVan Buren Township, LaGrange County, IndianaVan Buren Township, Madison County, IndianaVan Buren Township, Kosciusko County, IndianaVan Buren Township, Daviess County, IndianaVan Buren Township, Shelby County, Indiana.
  • 1861
    Van Buren's health began to fail later in 1861, and he was bedridden with pneumonia during the fall and winter of 1861–62.
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    Van Buren's health began to fail in 1861, and he died in July 1862 at the age of seventy-nine.
    More Details Hide Details Although he served in many high offices, his most lasting achievement was as a political organizer who built the modern Democratic Party and guided it to dominance in the new Second Party System.
  • 1860
    In the election of 1860, he supported Stephen A. Douglas, the candidate of northern Democrats, and helped create a fusion ticket in New York of Democratic electors pledged to both Douglas and John C. Breckinridge, but Abraham Lincoln carried New York and every northern state except New Jersey. Once the American Civil War began, Van Buren made public his support for the Union, and supported Abraham Lincoln's efforts to prevent the southern states from seceding. In April, 1861 former President Pierce wrote to the other living former Presidents and asked them to consider meeting in order to use their stature and influence to propose a negotiated end to the war.
    More Details Hide Details Pierce asked Van Buren to use his role as the senior living ex-President to issue a formal call. Van Buren's reply suggested that Buchanan should be the one to call the meeting, since he was the former President who had served most recently, or that Pierce should issue the call himself if he strongly believed in the merit of his proposal. Neither Buchanan or Pierce was willing to make Pierce's proposal public, and nothing more resulted from it.
  • 1852
    Van Buren supported Franklin Pierce for President in 1852, and James Buchanan in 1856, though he later opposed the Buchanan administration's efforts to accommodate the southern states when they threatened secession.
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  • 1848
    Van Buren was increasingly opposed to slavery, and his original attempts to accommodate pro-slavery southerners gave way over time to acceptance of anti-slavery positions including opposing slavery's expansion into newly organized western states. In 1848, he was nominated for President by two minor parties, first by the "Barnburner" faction of the Democratic Party in New York, then by the Free Soil Party, with whom the "Barnburners" coalesced.
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    While in the state Senate Van Buren voted for a resolution instructing New York's members of Congress to vote against the admission of Missouri as a slave state. In 1848 he would be the nominated for president by the Free Soil Party (an anti-slavery political party).
    More Details Hide Details Despite these antislavery views, during his term of office there was no ambiguity about his position on the abolition of slavery. Van Buren actually considered slavery immoral, but sanctioned by the Constitution. He was against its abolition both in D.C. and in the United States altogether, and said so in his Inaugural Address in 1837: "I believed it a solemn duty fully to make known my sentiments in regard to it slavery, and now, when every motive for misrepresentation has passed away, I trust that they will be candidly weighed and understood."
  • 1844
    In addition, Van Buren, who had been denied the 1844 nomination by Cass supporters despite having begun the convention with a majority of delegates, may have run in order to exact a measure of revenge by denying Cass the presidency.
    More Details Hide Details Van Buren won no electoral votes, but finished second to Whig nominee Zachary Taylor in New York, taking enough votes from Cass to give the state—and perhaps the election—to Taylor. Unlike many anti-slavery Democrats of the 1840s and 1850s, who later joined the Republican Party, Van Buren and most of his followers remained in the Democratic fold, including his son John Van Buren and Samuel J. Tilden, who later served as Governor of New York and was the Democratic nominee for President in 1876.
    Van Buren declined, partly because he was upset with Polk over the treatment the Van Buren delegates had received at the 1844 convention, and partly because he was content in his retirement.
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    On the expiration of his term, Van Buren returned to his estate, Lindenwald in Kinderhook, where he planned his return to the White House. He seemed likely to be nominated by the Democrats in 1844, but in April of that year a Van Buren letter to William H. Hammett was made public.
    More Details Hide Details In it, Van Buren opposed the immediate annexation of Texas, but said that he would support annexation once the state of war between Texas and Mexico was resolved. Van Buren's opposition to immediate annexation cost him the support of pro-slavery Democrats; he began the Democratic National Convention with a majority of the delegates, but with no southern support he could not reach the two-thirds threshold required for nomination. His name was withdrawn after eight ballots, and a dark horse, James K. Polk, received the nomination and went on to win the presidency. After taking office, Polk used George Bancroft as an intermediary to offer Van Buren the ambassadorship to London.
  • 1842
    Fighting was not resolved until 1842, after Van Buren had left office.
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  • 1840
    Nevertheless, Van Buren controlled his party and was unanimously renominated by the Democrats in 1840.
    More Details Hide Details The unhappiness with the Democrats led to the landslide election of William Henry Harrison, the Whig candidate. Van Buren once mentioned his relief upon leaving office: "As to the presidency, the two happiest days of my life were those of my entrance upon the office and my surrender of it."
    In 1840, Van Buren was voted out of office, losing to Whig candidate William Henry Harrison.
    More Details Hide Details Van Buren was the leading candidate for the Democratic nomination in 1844, but lost to James K. Polk, who went on to win the election. In the 1848 election Van Buren ran unsuccessfully as the candidate of the anti-slavery Free Soil Party. He returned to the Democratic fold to support Franklin Pierce (1852), James Buchanan (1856), and Stephen A. Douglas (1860) for the presidency, but his increasingly abolitionist views and support for the Union led him to support Abraham Lincoln's policies after the start of the American Civil War.
  • 1839
    The film depicts the controversy and legal battle surrounding the status of slaves who in 1839 rebelled against their transporters on La Amistad slave ship.
    More Details Hide Details In Episode 1 Season 2 of Veep ('Midterms'), Vice President Selina Meyer is told that a colleague's office is opposite the picture of 'Fat Wolverine'. In the next scene the picture is revealed to be of Martin Van Buren. In an early scene of the film Two Faces of January, the main characters – American expatriates in Athens – encounter an American tourist and discover that she is a Van Buren descendant. They then argue over whether Martin Van Buren was the seventh or eighth President. The USS Van Buren is a fictional Navy aircraft carrier named for President Van Buren which has appeared in the television show NCIS: Los Angeles. During the 2016 presidential campaign, a #FeeltheBuren hashtag was created on Twitter as a parody of Bernie Sanders' #FeeltheBern campaign slogan. Sources
    In 1839, after moving to Illinois, Smith and his party appealed to members of Congress and to President Van Buren to intercede for the Mormons.
    More Details Hide Details According to Smith's grandnephew, Van Buren said to Smith, "Your cause is just, but I can do nothing for you; if I take up for you I shall lose the vote of Missouri".
    In 1839, Joseph Smith, Jr., the founder of the Latter Day Saint movement, visited Van Buren to plead for the U.S. to help roughly 20,000 Mormon settlers of Independence, Missouri (who were forced from the state during the 1838 Mormon War) there.
    More Details Hide Details The Governor of Missouri, Lilburn Boggs, had issued an executive order on October 27, 1838, known as the "Extermination Order". It authorized troops to use force against Mormons to "exterminate or drive them from the state".
  • 1837
    State elections of 1837 and 1838 were disastrous for the Democrats, and the partial economic recovery in 1838 was offset by a second commercial crisis in that year.
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    In an action that upset political leaders of the pro-slavery states, in August 1837, Van Buren denied Texas' formal request to join the United States, partly to prevent the upset of the slave state/free state balance in the Missouri Compromise, and partly because he hoped to avoid the possibility of war with Mexico over Texas annexation by purchasing the territory from the Mexican government.
    More Details Hide Details In the case of the ship Amistad, Van Buren sided with the Spanish government to return the kidnapped slaves. Regarding Indian removal, Van Buren oversaw the movement of Cherokee, Choctaw, Creek, Chickasaw and Seminole tribes from Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, and South Carolina to the Oklahoma territory, executing the orders passed under Jackson. To help secure Florida, Van Buren also continued the Second Seminole War, which had begun during Jackson's presidency.
    His party was so split that his 1837 proposal for an "Independent Treasury" system did not pass until 1840.
    More Details Hide Details It gave the Treasury control of all federal funds and had a legal tender clause that required, by 1843, all payments to be made in specie, but further inflamed public opinion on both sides. In the field of labor conditions, an Executive Order issued by Van Buren in 1840 established the 10-hour day for laborers on all federal public works. In a bold step, Van Buren reversed Andrew Jackson's policies and sought peace at home, as well as abroad. Instead of settling a financial dispute between American citizens and the Mexican government by force, Van Buren wanted to seek a diplomatic solution.
    Martin Van Buren announced his intention "to follow in the footsteps of his illustrious predecessor", and retained all but one of Jackson's cabinet. Van Buren had few economic tools to deal with the Panic of 1837.
    More Details Hide Details The Panic was followed by a five-year depression in which banks failed and unemployment reached record highs. Some modern economists have argued that the Panic was caused by the Jackson administration's bank policies, with the power to create money being distributed into decentralized banks (most of which would then continue to cause a massive inflationary bubble). Van Buren advocated lower tariffs and free trade, and by doing so maintained support of the South for the Democratic Party. He succeeded in setting up a system of bonds for the national debt.
    As president, Van Buren was blamed for the depression of 1837; hostile newspapers called him "Martin Van Ruin".
    More Details Hide Details He attempted to cure the economic problems by keeping control of federal funds in an independent treasury—rather than in state banks—but Congress would not approve of this until 1840. In foreign affairs, he denied the application of Texas for admission to the Union, unwilling to upset the balance of free and slave states in the Missouri Compromise, and hoping to avoid war with Mexico over Texas annexation by purchasing the territory from Mexico's government. Additionally, relations with Britain and its colonies in Canada proved to be strained from the bloodless Aroostook War and the Caroline Affair.
    Van Buren's inability as president to deal with the deep economic depression following the Panic of 1837 and with the surging Whig Party led to his defeat in the 1840 election.
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  • 1836
    Martin Van Buren's competitors in the 1836 election were the Whigs; they ran several regional candidates in hopes of sending the election to the House of Representatives, where each state delegation would have one vote and the Whigs would stand a better chance of winning.
    More Details Hide Details William Henry Harrison hoped to receive the support of the Western voters, Daniel Webster had strength in New England, and Hugh Lawson White and Willie Person Mangum had support in the South. Van Buren won the election easily, with 170 electoral votes to 73 for Harrison, 26 for White, 14 for Webster and 11 for Mangum. Twentieth-century etymologist Allen Walker Read published research asserting the wide usage of the phrase "O.K." (okay) -- "Old Kinderhook"—started during the presidential campaign and subsequent presidency of Martin Van Buren. This etymology is disputed, and other proposed origins have been suggested, including words from the Choctaw or Wolof languages.
    Van Buren defeated several Whig opponents in 1836, and was elected president.
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  • 1835
    Van Buren was unanimously nominated by the 1835 Democratic National Convention at Baltimore, Maryland.
    More Details Hide Details On the issue of slavery, Van Buren moved to obtain the support of southerners by assuring them that he opposed abolitionism and supported the maintaining of slavery in states where it had already existed. Regarding the national bank, Van Buren made clear that he opposed rechartering a national bank. To demonstrate consistency regarding his opinions on slavery, Van Buren cast the tie-breaking Senate vote in favor of engrossing a bill to subject abolitionist mail to state laws, thus ensuring that its circulation would be prohibited in the South.
  • 1833
    However he also demonstrated both the willingness and the ability to work with his opponents, cooperating with Clay and Calhoun (now a Senator) to pass the compromise Tariff of 1833, which helped end the Nullification Crisis.
    More Details Hide Details During one contentious debate on the bank issue, Van Buren presided over the Senate as Clay spoke passionately about the harm he believed Jackson's bank policy would cause. Directing his remarks to Van Buren, Clay asked rhetorically whether Van Buren would approach Jackson and persuade him to change his mind. After Clay concluded, observers wondered how Van Buren would react. Van Buren's response was to descend from the rostrum and ask Clay if he could borrow a pinch of snuff. Caught off guard, Clay reflexively handed over his snuff box. Van Buren took a pinch, bowed to Clay, and left the chamber, both deflating the effect of Clay's remarks and preventing tension from escalating, as would have happened if Van Buren had attempted to reply directly. In the election of 1832, the Jackson-Van Buren ticket won by a landslide. Jackson, not running in 1836, was determined to make Van Buren his successor in order to continue the Jackson administration's policies.
    During his time in office Van Buren continued to be one of Jackson's primary advisors and confidants, and accompanied Jackson on his tour of the northeastern United States in 1833.
    More Details Hide Details Jackson's confidence in Van Buren was further demonstrated after Jackson named Benjamin F. Butler, Van Buren's political ally and former law partner, to serve as Attorney General, and John Forsyth, another Van Buren ally, to serve as Secretary of State. Van Buren's support of Jackson in the Nullification Crisis and the decision not to recharter the Second Bank of the United States made him a target of Jackson's most vocal opponents. Van Buren was threatened with violence, including explicit comments from Senator George Poindexter of Mississippi, which caused Van Buren to carry pistols for self-defense.
  • 1832
    After a brief tour of Europe, Van Buren reached New York on July 5, 1832. The May 1832 Democratic National Convention, the party's first, had nominated him for vice president on the Jackson ticket.
    More Details Hide Details Van Buren's nomination was not as strongly supported as Jackson's, particularly among southerners who recalled his work on the tariff in 1828, but he somewhat placated southerners by denying the right of Congress to abolish slavery in the District of Columbia without the consent of the slave states.
    The Jackson-Van Buren ticket won the 1832 election, and Van Buren took office as Vice President in March 1833.
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    He was cordially received, but in February, he learned that his nomination had been rejected by the Senate on January 25, 1832.
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    After the breach between Jackson and Calhoun, which culminated with the Nullification Crisis, Van Buren's position as one of Jackson's primary political supporters and policy advisors clearly marked him as the most prominent candidate for the vice presidency in 1832, and Jackson's most likely successor in 1836.
    More Details Hide Details Van Buren won Jackson's lasting regard by his courtesies to Peggy Eaton, wife of Secretary of War John H. Eaton, with whom the wives of the cabinet members had refused to associate. As a widower, Van Buren was unaffected by the position of the Cabinet wives, and he supported Jackson's position that criticism of the Eatons would not be tolerated. The anti-Eaton effort was led by Calhoun's wife, Floride, and Jackson's opponents, including Calhoun, hoped to use it to gain political leverage. By siding with Jackson, Van Buren helped create a counter-coalition that weakened Calhoun. The dispute was finally resolved when Van Buren offered to resign; Jackson eventually accepted, which gave him the opportunity to reorganize his cabinet by asking for the resignations of Cabinet members whose wives were part of the anti-Eaton coalition. Postmaster General William T. Barry, who had sided with Jackson and Van Buren, was the lone cabinet member to stay, and Eaton eventually received appointments that took him away from Washington, first as governor of Florida Territory, and then as minister to Spain.
    He was successful in the jockeying to become Jackson's picked successor, and was elected vice president in 1832.
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  • 1831
    In August 1831 Jackson gave Van Buren a recess appointment as Minister to the Court of St. James (Britain) and he arrived in London in September.
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    After resigning as Secretary of State in April 1831 as part of resolving the Petticoat affair, Van Buren remained in office until June, and afterwards continued to play a part in Jackson's Kitchen Cabinet.
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    During Jackson's eight years as president, Van Buren was a key advisor, and built the organizational structure for the coalescing Democratic Party, particularly in New York. In 1831, following his resignation as Secretary of State, Jackson gave Van Buren a recess appointment as American minister to Britain, but Van Buren's nomination was rejected by the Senate, cutting short his service in London.
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  • 1829
    In December 1829, Jackson had already made known his wish that Van Buren receive the 1832 vice presidential nomination.
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    On March 5, 1829, President Jackson appointed Van Buren Secretary of State, an office which probably had been assured to him before the 1828 elections, and Van Buren resigned the governorship on March 12.
    More Details Hide Details He was succeeded by his Lieutenant Governor, Enos T. Throop, a member of the Regency. As Secretary of State, Van Buren took care to keep on good terms with the Kitchen Cabinet, Jackson's informal advisers. He sometimes opposed Jackson in the matter of removing political appointees from office to replace them with Jackson loyalists, but also saw to the replacement of postmasters in New York with Van Buren loyalists. No serious diplomatic crises arose during Van Buren's tenure, but he achieved several notable successes, including the settlement of long-standing claims against France, winning reparations for property that had been seized during the Napoleonic Wars. He reached an agreement with the British to open trade with the British West Indies colonies. In addition, Van Buren completed a treaty with the Ottoman Empire that gained American merchants access to the Black Sea. Items on which he did not achieve success included settling the Maine-New Brunswick boundary dispute with Great Britain, gaining settlement of the U.S. claim to the Oregon Country, concluding a commercial treaty with Russia, and persuading Mexico to sell Texas.
    Van Buren won his election, and resigned from the Senate to start the gubernatorial term, which began on January 1, 1829.
    More Details Hide Details Martin Van Buren's tenure as New York governor is the second shortest on record. While his term was short, he did manage to pass the Bank Safety Fund Law (an early form of deposit insurance) through the Legislature.
  • 1828
    Calhoun also opposed Van Buren for his role in the Petticoat Affair and his work on the 1828 tariff.
    More Details Hide Details When the vote on Van Buren's nomination was taken, enough pro-Calhoun Democrats refrained from voting to produce a tie, thus giving Calhoun, in his role as presiding officer, the ability to cast a vote. He voted against Van Buren, and so achieved "vengeance" on Van Buren. Calhoun was elated, convinced that he had ended Van Buren's career. "It will kill him dead, sir, kill him dead. He will never kick, sir, never kick," Calhoun exclaimed to a friend within earshot of Missouri Senator Thomas Hart Benton. Benton recognized the significance of Calhoun's action, saying "You have broken a minister and made a vice president." John Tyler, then serving as a Senator from Virginia, also recognized Calhoun's overreach, writing to a friend that "Van Buren is elevated by the silly thing of rejecting him." As Benton and Tyler foresaw, Calhoun's move backfired by making Van Buren seem the victim of petty politics, thus raising him in both Jackson's regard and the esteem of others in the Democratic Party. Far from ending Van Buren's career, Calhoun's action gave greater impetus to Van Buren's candidacy for vice president.
    In 1828 Van Buren ran for Governor of New York in an effort to use his personal popularity to bolster Jackson's chances of carrying New York in the presidential election.
    More Details Hide Details Jackson defeated Adams handily, leading the pro-Adams New York American to editorialize "Organization is the secret of victory. By the want of it we have been overthrown."
    Van Buren's political opponents in the Democratic Party used his 1828 vote against him for years afterwards to prevent him from obtaining Southern support for his candidacies.
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    Political observers of the time viewed Van Buren's efforts to pass the 1828 tariff as part of the campaign to elect Jackson as President.
    More Details Hide Details Anticipating that most Southerners would vote for Andrew Jackson no matter who else was running, Van Buren intended the tariff proposed by Jackson's Northern Democratic supporters in Congress to attract to Jackson's candidacy Northern voters, who generally favored high tariffs to protect the manufactured goods they produced. Van Buren voted in favor, later adopting the cover story that he had done so only in response to instructions from the New York State Legislature. Most Democrats, especially Southerners, continued to oppose tariffs after 1828.
    The 1828 "Tariff of Abominations" was recognized as his work.
    More Details Hide Details Since Democrats, especially Southerners, were generally opposed to tariffs that increased the price of manufactured goods from the North but did not benefit the raw materials produced in the South, Van Buren could normally have been expected to oppose tariffs.
    After the House contest, Van Buren shrewdly kept out of the controversy which followed, and began looking forward to 1828.
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  • 1827
    In February 1827, he was re-elected to the Senate by a large majority.
    More Details Hide Details He became one of the recognized managers of the Jackson campaign, and his tour of Virginia, the Carolinas, and Georgia in the spring of 1827 won support for Jackson from Crawford as Van Buren sought to reorganize and unify "the old Republican party" behind Jackson. At the state level, Jackson's committee chairs would split up the responsibilities around the state and organize volunteers at the local level. "Hurra Boys" would plant hickory trees (in honor of Jackson's nickname, "Old Hickory") or hand out hickory sticks at rallies.
  • 1826
    As chair of the Judiciary Committee, he brought forward a number of measures for the improvement of judicial procedure, including one (not adopted), which would have required a super-majority vote by the United States Supreme Court to declare a law unconstitutional. in May 1826, Van Buren joined with Senator Thomas Hart Benton in reporting on patronage in the executive branch, going against his own use of the spoils system to propose unsuccessfully that Presidents not be able to remove officeholders at will, and that Presidents report to Congress on the reasons why dismissed holders of federal positions had been removed.
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  • 1824
    He switched his support early from Crawford, whose ill health after a stroke had made him a less than viable candidate, to Andrew Jackson, who had won the popular vote in 1824.
    More Details Hide Details Jackson was angered to see the presidency go to Adams after he received fewer popular votes, and eagerly looked forward to a rematch. Always notably courteous in his treatment of opponents, Van Buren showed no bitterness toward either Adams or Henry Clay, and he voted for Clay's confirmation as Secretary of State, notwithstanding Jackson's "corrupt bargain" charge. At the same time, he opposed the Adams-Clay plans for internal infrastructure improvements (roads, canals, bridges etc.) and declined to support U.S. participation in the Congress of Panama.
    In the presidential election of 1824, Van Buren supported William H. Crawford and received the electoral vote of Georgia for Vice President.
    More Details Hide Details None of the presidential candidates—Crawford, John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, or Henry Clay—had received a majority of the electoral college votes, so the choice fell to the United States House of Representatives. The House had to choose from among the top three candidates, so Clay was eliminated. Van Buren had originally hoped to block John Quincy Adams by denying him the state of New York, which was divided between supporters of Crawford and Adams. However, Representative Stephen Van Rensselaer swung New York to Adams. Adams won, and appointed Clay as Secretary of State. Because Clay had supported Adams in the House election, Jackson and Crawford supporters alleged corruption.
    He voted for the tariffs of 1824 and 1828, and then gradually abandoned this protectionist position, later coming out for tariffs "for revenue only."
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    Van Buren at first favored internal improvements, such as road repairs and canal construction; he proposed a constitutional amendment in 1824 to authorize such undertakings, but changed his position the following year.
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  • 1821
    In February 1821, Martin Van Buren was elected a U.S. Senator from New York, defeating incumbent Nathan Sanford, who ran as the Clintonian candidate.
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    Elected to the Senate by the state legislature in 1821, Van Buren supported William H. Crawford for president in the 1824 election, but by 1828 had come to support General Andrew Jackson.
    More Details Hide Details Van Buren was a major supporter and organizer for Jackson in the 1828 election. Jackson was elected, and made Van Buren Secretary of State.
  • 1820
    Van Buren served as a member of the 1820 state constitutional convention, where he favored expanded voting rights, but opposed universal suffrage and tried to maintain property requirements for voting.
    More Details Hide Details He was the leading figure in the Albany Regency, a group of Bucktail leaders who for more than a generation dominated the politics of New York and influenced national politics. The Regency, together with other political organizations such as Tammany Hall, played a major role in expanding the spoils system and making it a recognized and accepted procedure. He was the prime architect of the first nationwide political party: the Jacksonian Democrats or Democratic Party, which evolved from the Democratic-Republicans and relied on party loyalty and patronage to prevent contentious sectional issues, including tariffs and slavery, from becoming national crises. In Van Buren's words, "Without strong national political organizations, there would be nothing to moderate the prejudices between free and slaveholding states." As had James Madison and other Democratic Party organizers who favored states' rights and local control, Van Buren was struggling to find an institutional solution to the Constitution's seeming inability to prevent concentration of power in an administrative republic.
    He replaced William Floyd as a presidential elector in 1820, and voted for James Monroe and Daniel D. Tompkins.
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  • 1819
    After 12 years of marriage, Hannah Van Buren contracted tuberculosis and died on February 5, 1819, at the age of 35.
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  • 1817
    In 1817, Van Buren's connection with so-called "machine politics" started when he created the first political organization encompassing all of New York, the Bucktails.
    More Details Hide Details The Bucktails became a successful movement that emphasized party loyalty and used it to capture and control many patronage posts throughout New York. Van Buren gained the nickname of "Little Magician" for the skill with which he exploited what came to be called the "spoils system".
  • 1815
    The reorganization would have included a position for Van Buren at a rank to be determined, but the conclusion of the war in February 1815 ended Scott and Van Buren's work on the project.
    More Details Hide Details At first he opposed DeWitt Clinton's plan for the Erie Canal, but he supported it when the Bucktails (the name given to the anti-DeWitt Clinton Democratic-Republicans) were able to gain a majority on the Erie Canal Commission, and he supported a bill that raised money for the canal through the sale of state bonds.
  • 1814
    In the winter of 1814–15 he exchanged ideas with Winfield Scott on ways to reorganize the New York Militia in anticipation of another military campaign in 1815.
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  • 1812
    Though he never served in the military, during the War of 1812 Van Buren worked in the State Senate to pass war measures, including bills to expand the New York Militia and increase soldier pay.
    More Details Hide Details In addition, he was a special judge advocate appointed to serve as one of the prosecutors of William Hull during Hull's court-martial following the surrender of Detroit.
  • 1808
    Van Buren served as Surrogate from 1808 until 1813, when the Federalist Party obtained a majority in the state legislature and replaced him.
    More Details Hide Details Van Buren was a member of the New York State Senate from 1813 to 1820, and joined the opposition party in 1813. (The opposition party were Democratic-Republicans who fought DeWitt Clinton for control of the Democratic-Republican Party in New York.) Van Buren served as New York Attorney General from 1815 to 1819.
  • 1807
    Van Buren supported Daniel D. Tompkins for Governor over incumbent Morgan Lewis in 1807.
    More Details Hide Details Tompkins won, and his allies were a majority in the state legislature. As a result, Van Buren was appointed Surrogate of Columbia County, New York, replacing Van Alen, who had supported Lewis.
    Van Buren married Hannah Hoes, his childhood sweetheart and first cousin once removed, on February 21, 1807, in Catskill, New York.
    More Details Hide Details Like Van Buren, she was raised in a Dutch home; she spoke primarily Dutch, and spoke English with a distinct accent. The couple had five sons and one daughter: Abraham (1807–1873) a graduate of West Point and career military officer; John (1810–1866), graduate of Yale and Attorney General of New York; Martin, Jr. (1812–1855), secretary to his father and editor of his father's papers until a premature death from tuberculosis; Winfield Scott (born and died in 1814); and Smith Thompson (1817–1876), an editor and special assistant to his father while president. Their daughter was stillborn.
  • 1803
    Van Buren was admitted to the bar in 1803.
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  • 1796
    Van Buren received a basic education at the village schoolhouse and briefly studied Latin at the Kinderhook Academy and at Washington Seminary in Claverack. His formal education ended before he reached 14, when he began reading law in 1796 at the office of Peter Silvester and his son Francis, prominent Federalist attorneys in Kinderhook.
    More Details Hide Details Van Buren was small in stature; as an adult he was 5 feet 6 inches tall, and often referred to as "Little Van." When he first began his legal studies, he often presented an unkempt appearance in rough, homespun clothing. It was the Silvesters who suggested that Van Buren could improve his professional prospects by dressing fashionably and taking care in how he appeared in public; he heeded the advice and patterned his clothing, appearance, bearing and conduct after theirs. After six years under the Silvesters, the elder Silvester and Democratic-Republican political figure John Peter Van Ness suggested that Van Buren's political leanings made it a good idea for him to complete his education with a Democratic-Republican attorney. Accepting this advice, he spent a final year of apprenticeship in the New York City office of John Van Ness's brother William P. Van Ness, a political lieutenant of Aaron Burr.
  • 1787
    He was active in local politics and government, and served as Kinderhook's town clerk from 1787 to 1797.
    More Details Hide Details Martin Van Buren's mother was Maria Hoes Van Alen Van Buren (1747–1818). She had been married to Johannes Van Alen. After Johannes' death, she married Abraham Van Buren in 1776. By his mother's first marriage, Van Buren had one half-sister and two half-brothers, including: Marytje (or Maria) Van Alen (1768-1829), the wife of John L. Hoes; John I. Van Alen (1770–1805); and James I. Van Alen, who practiced law with Van Buren for a time and served as a member of Congress (1807–1809). Van Buren had four full siblings:
  • 1782
    Martin Van Buren was born on December 5, 1782, in the village of Kinderhook, New York about south of Albany on the Hudson River.
    More Details Hide Details He was the first president to be born after the United States declared independence. He was baptized on December 15 of that year as "Maarten van Buren", the original Dutch spelling of his name. In the era before the steamboat, Kinderhook was an isolated village, and most of the townsfolk, including the Van Burens, spoke Dutch at home. Martin Van Buren is the only president who spoke English as a second language. Van Buren descended from Cornelis Maessen of the village of Buurmalsen, near the town of Buren in the Netherlands, who had come to America in 1631 and purchased a plot of land on Manhattan Island; his son Martin Cornelisen took the surname Van Buren. The future president's father, Abraham Van Buren (1737–1817), was a farmer who owned a Kinderhook inn as well as six slaves. Abraham Van Buren supported the Patriot cause during the American Revolution as a captain in the Albany County Militia's 7th Regiment, and later joined the Jeffersonian Republicans.
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