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Martin Van Buren was the 8th President of the United States. He was the first president to be born after the Declaration of Independence, thus making him the first president who was an American citizen. Van Buren was nicknamed the “Little Magician”
- Martin Van Buren was born on December 5, 1782 in Kinderhook, New York to Abraham Van Buren and Maria Hoes, who were of Dutch descent. Until the age of 14, young Martin attended the Washington Seminary at Claverack and afterwards, he studied law for six years and was admitted to the bar in 1803. On February 21, 1807, he married Hannah Hoes with whom he had five children.
- In 1812, Van Buren started his political career as a member of the New York State Senate, and stayed until 1820. At the same time, he served as the Attorney General of New York between 1815 and 1819 and by 1829, Van Buren became the second Governor of New York to serve the shortest tenure.
- President Andrew Jackson appointed Van Buren as the Secretary of State in 1829, until his resignation in 1831. His resignation was due to the opposing views between the president and vice president John C. Calhoun. Van Buren later on supported Jackson and was elected as his vice president in 1832 and served until 1837.
- He was a loyal ally and adviser to President Jackson in talks about building political relationships, and especially the formation of the Democratic Party.
Martin Van Buren’s Presidency
- Martin Van Buren took his oath as the 8th President of the United States on March 4, 1837 at the East Portico, in the U.S Capitol. He won the election after vowing to continue Jackson’s legacy as his predecessor had gained enough popularity to make him win. In addition, the Whig Party was still unorganized.
- At the beginning of Van Buren’s term, America faced the Panic of 1837 which resulted in a five-year economic depression. In order to alleviate the situation, he proposed the establishment of the independent treasury system. Instead of the state banks, federal transactions were to be under a new treasury system. In 1840, the Congress passed the Independent Treasury bill. In the same year, Texas (Mexican territory) was prohibited from joining the United States due to its antislavery stance.
- The Congress passed a law in 1838 prohibiting American citizens from joining into any foreign conflict. It was after the request from the Canadian separatists to help them fight for their independence against Great Britain. In the same year, Van Buren met with the British minister to settle the tensions over the borders of Maine and Canada and two years later, the Webster-Ashburton Treaty resolved the issue.
- In 1839, President Van Buren refused the request of Joseph Smith Jr. (leader of the Mormons) to intercede in the disagreements between the mormons and the state of Missouri, and refused to allow them to stay in the state.
- The Second Seminole War broke out after the government’s forced removal of the Seminole people in Florida. Nearly one-fourth of its population died.
- Van Buren supported the Spanish government during the Amistad case regarding the return of the slave mutinies. He was opposed by the returning representative John Quincy Adams who later on won before the U.S Supreme Court.
- At the end of Van Buren’s term, he was nicknamed as the “Martin Van Ruin” by the Whig Party. He became unpopular and was later on defeated for re-election. The economic crisis faced by the Americans was said to be the main cause of his failure.
Post-Presidency and Death
- In 1844, Van Buren failed to win his party’s presidential nomination because he opposed the annexation of Texas. After losing, he supported the co-member James K. Polk’s nomination. In 1848, he became the Free Soil Party’s presidential candidate and was defeated by Zachary Taylor. The new party was composed of antislavery Democrats, Whigs, and Liberals and in 1857, he supported the Democrat James Buchanan. After a term, he disliked Buchanan’s take on secession which led him to support the Republican Abraham Lincoln until the outbreak of Civil War in 1861.
- He spent his retirement years at the estate in Kinderhook, Lindenwald. On July 4, 1862, Van Buren died at the age of 79 due to bronchial asthma and heart failure, and together with his wife and son, his body was interred at the Kinderhook Cemetery.
- In 1867, his book “Inquiry into the Origin and Course of Political Parties in the United States” was published.
- In 1920, Van Buren’s autobiography which was written during the 1850s, was also available to be read by the public.
“As to the presidency, the two happiest days of my life were those of my entrance upon the office and my surrender of it”
Martin Van Buren Worksheets
This bundle contains 11 ready-to-use Martin Van Buren Worksheets that are perfect for students who want to learn more about Martin Van Buren who was the 8th President of the United States. He was the first president to be born after the Declaration of Independence, thus making him the first president who was an American citizen. Van Buren was nicknamed the “Little Magician”
Download includes the following worksheets:
- Martin Van Buren Facts
- The Little Magician
- The Next Three
- Van Buren’s Cabinet
- The Free Soil Party
- Political Timeline
- Amistad Case
- The Van Buren Administration
- Compare and Contrast
- Political Cartoon Analysis
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