Martin Van Buren

Martin Van Buren
Martin Van Buren by Mathew Brady c1855-58.jpg
8th President of the United States
In office
March 4, 1837 – March 4, 1841
Vice PresidentRichard Mentor Johnson
Preceded byAndrew Jackson
Succeeded byWilliam Henry Harrison
8th Vice President of the United States
In office
March 4, 1833 – March 4, 1837
PresidentAndrew Jackson
Preceded byJohn C. Calhoun
Succeeded byRichard Mentor Johnson
13th United States Minister
to the United Kingdom
In office
August 8, 1831 – April 4, 1832
PresidentAndrew Jackson
Preceded byLouis McLane
Succeeded byAaron Vail (acting)
10th United States Secretary of State
In office
March 28, 1829 – May 23, 1831
PresidentAndrew Jackson
Preceded byHenry Clay
Succeeded byEdward Livingston
9th Governor of New York
In office
January 1, 1829 – March 12, 1829
LieutenantEnos T. Throop
Preceded byNathaniel Pitcher
Succeeded byEnos T. Throop
United States Senator
from New York
In office
March 4, 1821 – December 20, 1828
Preceded byNathan Sanford
Succeeded byCharles E. Dudley
14th Attorney General of New York
In office
February 17, 1815 – July 8, 1819
GovernorDaniel D. Tompkins
John Tayler (acting)
DeWitt Clinton
Preceded byAbraham Van Vechten
Succeeded byThomas J. Oakley
Member of the New York Senate
In office
1813–1820
Preceded byEdward Philip Livingston
Succeeded byJohn Miller
Surrogate of Columbia County
In office
1808–1813
Preceded byJames I. Van Alen
Succeeded byJames Vanderpoel
Personal details
Born
Maarten Van Buren

(1782-12-05)December 5, 1782
Kinderhook, New York, U.S.
DiedJuly 24, 1862(1862-07-24) (aged 79)
Kinderhook, New York, U.S.
Resting placeKinderhook Reformed Church Cemetery
Political partyDemocratic-Republican (1799–1825)
Free Soil (1848–52)
Democratic (1825–48, 1852–62)
Spouse(s)
Hannah Hoes
(m. 1807; died 1819)
Children5, including Abraham, John
ParentsAbraham Van Buren
Maria Hoes Van Alen
SignaturePrint signature in ink
Nickname(s)Old Kinderhook, The Little Magician, The Red Fox of Kinderhook,[1] Martin van Ruin,[2] The Mistletoe Politician[3][a]

Martin Van Buren (ən/ BEWR-ən; born Maarten Van Buren, Dutch pronunciation: [ˈmaːrtə(n) vɑn ˈbyːrə(n)]; December 5, 1782 – July 24, 1862) was an American statesman who served as the eighth president of the United States from 1837 to 1841. He was the first president born after the independence of the United States from the British Empire. A founder of the Democratic Party, he previously served as the ninth governor of New York, the tenth United States secretary of state, and the eighth vice president of the United States. He won the 1836 presidential election with the endorsement of popular outgoing President Andrew Jackson and the organizational strength of the Democratic Party. He lost his 1840 reelection bid to Whig Party nominee William Henry Harrison, due in part to the poor economic conditions of the Panic of 1837. Later in his life, Van Buren emerged as an elder statesman and important anti-slavery leader, who led the Free Soil Party ticket in the 1848 presidential election.

Van Buren was born in Kinderhook, New York to a family of Dutch Americans; his father was a Patriot during the American Revolution. He was raised speaking Dutch and learned English at school, making him the only U.S. president who spoke English as a second language. He trained as a lawyer and quickly became involved in politics as a member of the Democratic-Republican Party. He won election to the New York State Senate and became the leader of the Bucktails, the faction of Democratic-Republicans opposed to Governor DeWitt Clinton. Van Buren established a political machine known as the Albany Regency and in the 1820s emerged as the most influential politician in his home state. He was elected to the United States Senate in 1821 and supported William H. Crawford in the 1824 presidential election. John Quincy Adams won the 1824 election and Van Buren opposed his proposals for federally funded internal improvements and other measures. Van Buren's major political goal was to re-establish a two-party system with partisan differences based on ideology rather than personalities or sectional differences, and he supported Jackson's candidacy against Adams in the 1828 presidential election with this goal in mind. To support Jackson's candidacy, Van Buren ran for Governor of New York; he won, but resigned a few months after assuming the position to accept appointment as U.S. Secretary of State after Jackson took office in March 1829.

Van Buren was a key advisor during Jackson's eight years as President of the United States and he built the organizational structure for the coalescing Democratic Party, particularly in New York. He resigned from his position to help resolve the Petticoat affair, then briefly served as the U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom. At Jackson's behest, the 1832 Democratic National Convention nominated Van Buren for Vice President of the United States, and he took office after the Democratic ticket won the 1832 presidential election. With Jackson's strong support, Van Buren faced little opposition for the presidential nomination at the 1835 Democratic National Convention, and he defeated several Whig opponents in the 1836 presidential election. Van Buren's response to the Panic of 1837 centered on his Independent Treasury system, a plan under which the Federal government of the United States would store its funds in vaults rather than in banks. He also continued Jackson's policy of Indian removal; he maintained peaceful relations with Britain but denied the application to admit Texas to the Union, seeking to avoid heightened sectional tensions. In the 1840 election, the Whigs rallied around Harrison's military record and ridiculed Van Buren as "Martin Van Ruin", and a surge of new voters helped turn him out of office.

At the opening of the Democratic convention in 1844, Van Buren was the leading candidate for the party's nomination for the presidency. Southern Democrats, however, were angered by his continued opposition to the annexation of Texas, and the party nominated James K. Polk. Van Buren grew increasingly opposed to slavery after he left office, and he agreed to lead a third party ticket in the 1848 presidential election, motivated additionally by intra-party differences at the state and national level. He finished in a distant third nationally, but his presence in the race most likely helped Whig nominee Zachary Taylor defeat Democrat Lewis Cass. Van Buren returned to the Democratic fold after the 1848 election, but he supported Abraham Lincoln's policies during the American Civil War. His health began to fail in 1861 and he died in July 1862 at age 79. He has been generally ranked as an average or below-average U.S. president by historians and political scientists.

Early life and education

Record of the Kinderhook Dutch Reformed Church; Maarten Van Buren baptism December 15, 1782

Van Buren was born on December 5, 1782, in the village of Kinderhook, New York, about 20 miles (32 km) south of Albany on the Hudson River. By American law, he was the first U.S. president not born a British subject, nor of British ancestry.[4] However, because he was born during the American Revolution and before the Peace of Paris, he was for the purposes of British law a British subject at birth. His birth name was Maarten Van Buren (About this soundpronunciation ). His father, Abraham Van Buren, was a descendant of Cornelis Maessen of the village of Buurmalsen, Netherlands, who had come to North America in 1631 and purchased a plot of land on Manhattan Island.[5][6] Abraham Van Buren had been a Patriot during the American Revolution,[7][8] and he later joined the Democratic-Republican Party.[9] He owned an inn and tavern in Kinderhook and served as Kinderhook's town clerk for several years. In 1776, he married Maria Hoes Van Alen (sometimes spelled "Goes"), also of Dutch extraction and the widow of Johannes Van Alen. She had three children from her first marriage, including future U.S. Representative James I. Van Alen. Her second marriage produced five children, including Martin.[10] Van Buren spoke English as a second language, unlike any other president; his primary language in his youth was Dutch.[11]

Van Buren received a basic education at the village schoolhouse and briefly studied Latin at the Kinderhook Academy and at Washington Seminary in Claverack.[12][13] His formal education ended in 1796 when he began reading law at the office of Peter Silvester and his son Francis, prominent Federalist Party attorneys in Kinderhook.[14] At his father's inn, Van Buren learned early to interact with people from varied ethnic, income, and societal groups, which he used to his advantage as a political organizer.[15]

Van Buren was small in stature at 5 feet 6 inches tall, and some referred to him as "Little Van".[16] When he first began his legal studies, he often presented an unkempt appearance in rough, homespun clothing,[17] and the Silvesters admonished him about how crucial a lawyer's clothing and personal appearance were to the success of his practice. He accepted their advice and patterned his clothing, appearance, bearing, and conduct after theirs.[18][19]

Hannah Van Buren

Van Buren adopted the Democratic-Republican political leanings of his father, despite his association with the Silvesters and Kinderhook's strong affiliation with the Federalist Party.[20] The Silvesters and Democratic-Republican political figure John Peter Van Ness suggested that Van Buren's political leanings constrained him to complete his education with a Democratic-Republican attorney, so 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.[21] Van Ness introduced Van Buren to the intricacies of New York state politics, and Van Buren observed Burr's battles for control of the state Democratic-Republican party against George Clinton and Robert R. Livingston.[22] He returned to Kinderhook in 1803, after being admitted to the New York bar.[23]

Van Buren married Hannah Hoes in Catskill, New York on February 21, 1807, his childhood sweetheart and a daughter of his first cousin.[24] Like Van Buren, she was raised in a Dutch home; she spoke primarily Dutch, and spoke English with a distinct accent.[25] The couple had five children, four of whom lived to adulthood: Abraham (1807–1873), John (1810–1866), Martin Jr. (1812–1855), Winfield Scott (born and died in 1814), and Smith Thompson (1817–1876).[4] Hannah contracted tuberculosis and died on February 5, 1819 at age 35,[26] and Van Buren never remarried.[27]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Martin Van Buren
aragonés: Martin Van Buren
asturianu: Martin Van Buren
Aymar aru: Martin Van Buren
azərbaycanca: Martin Van Buren
Bân-lâm-gú: Martin Van Buren
беларуская: Марцін Ван Бюрэн
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Мартын Ван Бюрэн
Bikol Central: Martin Van Buren
български: Мартин Ван Бюрън
brezhoneg: Martin Van Buren
čeština: Martin Van Buren
Esperanto: Martin Van Buren
français: Martin Van Buren
Gàidhlig: Martin Van Buren
Bahasa Indonesia: Martin Van Buren
interlingua: Martin Van Buren
íslenska: Martin Van Buren
Kapampangan: Martin Van Buren
Kinyarwanda: Martin Van Buren
Kiswahili: Martin Van Buren
Kreyòl ayisyen: Martin Van Buren
Lëtzebuergesch: Martin Van Buren
lietuvių: Martin Van Buren
Lingua Franca Nova: Martin Van Buren
مازِرونی: مارتین ون بورن
Bahasa Melayu: Martin Van Buren
Mìng-dĕ̤ng-ngṳ̄: Martin Van Buren
မြန်မာဘာသာ: မာတင် ဗန် ဗျူရင်
Dorerin Naoero: Martin Van Buren
Nederlands: Martin Van Buren
norsk nynorsk: Martin Van Buren
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Martin van Buren
Piemontèis: Martin Van Buren
Plattdüütsch: Martin Van Buren
português: Martin Van Buren
Ripoarisch: Martin Van Buren
Runa Simi: Martin Van Buren
sicilianu: Martin Van Buren
Simple English: Martin Van Buren
slovenčina: Martin Van Buren
slovenščina: Martin Van Buren
српски / srpski: Мартин ван Бјурен
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Martin Van Buren
татарча/tatarça: Мартин Ван Бүрен
Türkmençe: Martin Wan Býuren
українська: Мартін ван Бюрен
Tiếng Việt: Martin Van Buren