Martin Van Buren
1837 - 1841
President Martin Van Buren, the eighth President was born in Kinderhook, New York, at the end of the "American Revolution". President Martin Van Buren's father was a Dutch farmer and tavern keeper.
At fourteen years old, President Martin Van Buren began to study law with an attorney in the town, nd when he was sixteen, he successfully tried his first lawsuit. In 1807 he married "Hannah Hoes", his childhood sweetheart, who gave him for sons before she died twelve years later.
President Van Buren's law practice involved him in New York politics, and his pleasant manners and willingness to cooperate with older party men led to his becoming one of the leading Democratic-Republicans in New York.
President Van Buren served as State Senator and as Attorney General until he was elected to the United States Senate in 1821. In the Senate he fought vigorously for causes he believed in, such as the repeal of a law that sent a man to prison for their debts and against the spread of slavery.
President Van Buren resigned from the Senate in his second term to become Governor of New York, but after two months in office, President Andrew Jackson called him back to Washington, D.C. to be Secretary of State. President Van Buren, as a Senator, had been largely responsible for President Andrew Jackson's election and President Andrew Jackson needed an experienced politician to lean on.
President Andrew Jackson never regretted his choice. He chose President Van Buren as the Vice President of his second term and at the 1835 Democratic Convention backed him so strongly for the Presidency that he was nominated unanimously. President Van Buren won the election easily.
President Van Buren had hardly settled in the White House when financial disaster struck, "the Panic of 1837". No person in the country was unaffected. Banks closed, businesses collapsed, farm prices dropped.
President Van Buren did not endear himself to the people during this time by riding around Washington, D.C. in his beautiful coach with liveried footmen on the box. Nor were the people pleased with his daughter-in-law, who acted as his hostess seated on a raised chair like a throne.
In the midst of the panic, the United States almost came to war with Great Britain when British troops from Canada burned an American ship that was being used to transport fighting men and arms to Canadian rebels. President Van Buren settled the affair, but such was the feeling against him the he was given little credit for it.
The Sub-Treasury Act in 1840", established an independent national treasury, which helped somewhat to ease the depression, but President Van Buren, although he had forced the measure through an unwilling Congress, got little credit for that either.
President Van Buren was renominated in 1839, and was overwhelmingly defeated. He died in Kinderhook, New York in 1862 during the second year of the Civil War.
Photography "NOT" by: