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President Martin Van Buren

President Martin Van Buren
Martin Van Buren
by Matthew Brady
Martin Van Buren was the 8th President of the United States.

Served as President: 1837-1841
Vice President: Richard M. Johnson
Party: Democrat
Age at inauguration: 54

Born: December 5, 1782 in Kinderhook, New York
Died: July 24, 1862 in Kinderhook, New York

Married: Hannah Hoes Van Buren
Children: Abraham, John, Martin, Smith
Nickname: The Little Magician


What is Martin Van Buren most known for?

Van Buren became known for being a shrewd politician. He earned the nicknames "Little Magician" and the "Red Fox" for his cunning politics. He was unable to get elected to a second term as president, however, when a financial panic hit the country and the stock market crashed.

Home of Martin Van Buren
The Birthplace of President Martin Van Buren
by John Warner Barber

Growing Up

Martin grew up in Kinderhook, New York where his father was a tavern owner and farmer. His family primarily spoke Dutch at home. Martin was intelligent, but only received a formal education to the age of 14. He learned law by working and apprenticing for attorneys in New York. In 1803 he passed the bar and became a lawyer.

Martin became involved in politics at a young age. When he was just 17 he attended his first political convention. He became attracted to politics and soon entered political office himself.

Before He Became President

Van Buren became a key player in New York state politics. Many considered him a master manipulator of "machine politics". He also helped to start another political tool called the "spoils system". This was where supporters of a candidate would receive good jobs in the government as a reward when their candidate won.

In 1815, Van Buren became the New York Attorney General. He then was elected to the U.S. Senate representing New York. He was a strong supporter of Andrew Jackson during this time, helping him in the north during the presidential election. After Jackson was elected, Van Buren became his Secretary of State.

Due to some scandals, Van Buren resigned as Secretary of State in 1831. However, he remained loyal to President Andrew Jackson. When Jackson found that his current Vice President, John Calhoun, was disloyal, he picked Van Buren as his Vice President for his second term.

Martin Van Buren's Presidency

Andrew Jackson supported Van Buren for president after deciding not to run for a third term. Van Buren won the election of 1836 becoming the 8th president of the United States.

Panic of 1837

Van Buren's presidency was defined by the Panic of 1837. Just a few short months after he became president, the stock market crashed. The economy ground to a halt as banks failed, people lost their jobs, and companies went out of business. The failure was largely due to policies set forth by his predecessor President Jackson and there was little Martin could do.

Other Events of Van Buren's Presidency After President

Van Buren tried to regain the White House two more times. In 1844 he came close to regaining the Democratic nomination, but came up short to James K. Polk. In 1848 he ran under a new party called the Free Soil Party.

How did he die?

Van Buren died at home on July 24, 1862 at the age of 79 from a heart attack.

Martin Van Buren - 8th President of the United States
Martin Van Buren
by G.P.A. Healy
Fun Facts About Martin Van Buren Activities

Biographies for Kids >> US Presidents for Kids

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