Martin Van Buren
Category: US President
U.S. President Martin Van Buren (1837-1841) served as Secretary of State in 1829 and two years after that, as Minister to England. In 1933, Martin Van Buren was handpicked by President Andrew Jackson for the Vice-Presidency winning in a landslide. On the next election, Martin Van Buren became the 8th President of the United States.
President Van Buren was a member of the Democratic Party and served in other government positions before joining the White House. Martin Van Buren was the State Senator of New York from 1813 to 1815 and became New York Attorney-General thereafter until 1819. In 1821, Martin Van Buren became a United States Senator until 1829 and the Governor of New York after that.
Born on December 5, 1782 in New York, Martin Van Buren was of Dutch descent and a Lawyer by profession. As President, he was the first one born in the U.S. All his predecessors while natives of mainland America were actually born before the U.S. became a country.
Interestingly, the expression “O.K.” was made popular because of President Martin Van Buren. He came from Kinderhook, New York referred to sometimes as “Old Kinderhook” in his speeches. Used during his campaign, the term “O.K.” would
eventually mean all right.
Early on in his career, Martin Van Buren already showed potential and promise as an emerging national leader. Martin Van Buren was only 18 when he became a political convention delegate quickly moving from local to the more challenging state politics. Martin Van Buren gained fame both in political organizing and as an accomplished lawyer and from there easily climbed up the political ladder.
But the climactic development of the political career of President Martin Van Buren, particular his term as President, was not as illustrious as his previous records. Only a few months after his election, Martin Van Buren was swallowed up by the great crisis, then known as the Panic of 1937. Many, however, believed that this was just part of the crumbling economic policies inherited by President Martin Van Buren from his predecessor, President Jackson. Particularly, it was attributed to a brief economic expansion from 1934 to 1936.
Unable to handle the critical situation, Martin Van Buren initiated certain economic policies that all the more pulled down his popularity which resulted to his defeat in the next Presidential election. One of these policies was an attempt to control federal funds by keeping them in an Independent Treasury instead of putting them in state banks but Congress only passed this three years after in 1840. The great crisis would last until 1944.
President Martin Van Buren was also not in favor to the idea of annexing Texas which was made possible by John Tyler eight years later. He was likewise instrumental in forcing 15,000 Cherokee Indians from their homeland in Georgia to Oklahoma. Some 4,000 Indians perished on that treacherous journey which later came to be known as “The Trail of Tears.”
It was probably because of numerous setbacks in his Presidency that Martin Van Buren failed in his three attempts for reelection. Martin Van Buren died at a ripe old age of 79 on July 24, 1862 at his hometown in Kinderhook, New York. President Martin Van Buren was a supporter of Abraham Lincoln’s anti-slavery policies but his most remarkable achievement was as an excellent political organizer responsible for building and guiding the modern Democratic Party to dominance in the Second Party System.