Introduction - President Martin Van BurenMartin Van Buren was the eighth President of the United States of America and the second Democratic U.S. President. He had been the U.S. Vice President to Andrew Jackson one of America's most famous presidents. Van Buren would serve as president during the depression of 1837, one of the hardest economic times for the U.S. and would not be reelected to a second term. On this page you will find a list of interesting facts about Martin Van Buren including information on how he became interested in politics, why he was not elected to a second term as president, and what some of his successes and failures were during his career. The easy to read format of this information makes it easy for both kids and adults to learn about the life of Martin Van Buren.
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President Martin Van Buren Quick Facts
- Martin Van Buren was born in Old Kinderhook, New York on December 5, 1782.
- He began his political career as a minor county official, eventually moved on to serve as New York attorney general, U.S. senator, secretary of state, and U.S. minister to England.
- Van Buren took office as Vice President to President Andrew Jackson in March of 1833.
- In 1837 Van Buren became the country's eighth President.
- He served as U.S. President from March 4th of 1837 through March 4th of 1841.
- His Vice president from 1837 through 1841 was Richard Mentor Johnson.
- Van Buren died on July 24, 1862 from bronchial asthma and heart failure in his hometown of Kinderhook, New York.
Interesting President Martin Van Buren Facts
- The original spelling of his name, as recorded on his baptismal record, is "Maarten van Buren".
- Martin Van Buren was the only president who spoke English as a second language. His family was of Dutch descent and Dutch was their main language.
- Because his father worked at a tavern where political meetings were often held, Van Buren was introduced to politics at a fairly young age.
- In 1796, Van Buren became an apprentice to a lawyer that his father knew. After being admitted to the bar in 1803, he went on to open his own law practice.
- In 1824, after John Quincy Adams was elected President, Martin Van Buren worked tirelessly to establish what would later be called the Democratic Party. As the years have passed, may historians now credit Van Buren with helping to form the American political system.
- Sometimes referred to as the "first professional politician", he was the very first U.S. president born after the Declaration of Independence was signed.
- The Democratic Party used the nickname "OK Club" when referring to their candidate, Martin Van Buren. His hometown was Old Kinderhook, initials "OK", which became a popular way of referring to the president. He became known as the "ok" President.
- Van Buren had several well-known nicknames which were "The Red Fox of Kinderhook", "The Little Magician" and political opponents called him "Martin Van Ruin".
- Hannah Hoes, Van Buren's distant cousin, became his wife in 1807. The couple had four children together.
- In 1819, Van Buren's wife, Hannah, died of tuberculosis and she never lived to see him become President.
- After serving as Secretary of State during President Andrew Jackson's first term he became Jackson's vice-presidential running mate in 1832. The pair easily won the election.
- Andrew Jackson, after completing his 2nd term as U.S. President was not running for re-election in 1836 and was determined to make Van Buren his successor in order to continue his administration's policies.
Facts about Martin Van Buren's Presidency
- The public generally blamed Van Buren for the depression of 1837 (Panic of 1837); an economic crisis that left banks and businesses throughout the country in ruins and people without jobs and homes. Although it began under Jackson's Presidency, Van Buren was left to pick up the pieces of what became the worst financial crisis the country had faced up to that point. Van Buren was given the nickname "Martin Van Ruin."
- Van Buren, despite believing slavery as immoral, believed the Constitution sanctioned it and he did nothing to end its practice.
- He supported free trade and lower tariffs.
- In 1837, he denied the request of Texas to join the United States.
- Like his predecessor as President, Andrew Jackson, Van Buren oversaw the removal of numerous American Indians from their homelands to territories in the west.
- He continued the Second Seminole War which had started before his presidency.
- During his term relations with Britain and the British colonies in Canada became strained.
- In 1840 Van Buren was voted out of office losing to Whig candidate William Henry Harrison.
- Van Buren ran again, unsuccessfully, for President in 1844 and 1848.