Martin Van Buren, Black and White Portrait.

Eighth President of the United States, Martin Van Buren was the first president to be born as a citizen of the United States. [Wikimedia Commons]

Martin Van Buren - Facts

December 5, 1782 – July 24, 1862

Key facts about Martin Van Buren, a U.S. Senator, Secretary of State, Vice-President, and the eighth President of the United States.

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Full Name:

  • Martin Van Buren

Birth Date:

  • December 5, 1782

Birth Location:

  • Kinderhook, New York (a small Dutch community near Albany)

Parents:

  • Abraham and Maria (Hoes) Van Buren

Education:

  • Local primary school

Occupation:

  • Lawyer,
  • Politician

Career Summary:

  • Eighth U.S. President
  • U.S. Senator
  • U.S Congressman,
  • Virginia Governor

Spouse:

  • Hannah Hoes (1807)

Nicknames:

  • Little Van
  • Old Kinderhook
  • The Little Magician
  • The Red Fox of Kinderhook
  • Martin van Ruin
  • The Mistletoe Politician

Place of Death:

  • Kinderhook, New York

Date of Death:

  • July 24, 1862

Place of Burial:

  • Reformed Dutch Church Cemetery, Kinderhook, New York

Significance:

  • Martin Van Buren was the eighth President of the United States.
  • Martin Van Buren was the first U.S. president to be born a citizen of the United States, as opposed to a British subject.
    Martin Van Buren was the third of five children born to Abraham and Maria (Hoes) Van Buren. He also had one half-sister and two half-brothers from his mother’s previous marriage.
  • Martin Van Buren’s father served as an American captain during the Revolutionary War.
  • Unable to afford college, Martin Van Buren apprenticed as an attorney for seven years before being admitted to the New York bar in 1803, at the age of twenty-one.
  • As a young man, Martin Van Buren adopted the political convictions of his father, and joined the Democratic-Republican Party.
    Throughout his political career, Martin Van Buren supported the views of Thomas Jefferson, who championed states’ rights, and a limited federal government.
  • On February 21, 1807, Martin Van Buren married his twenty-four-year-old cousin, and childhood sweetheart, Hannah Hoes, in Catskill, New York. Their marriage produced four sons who survived to adulthood.
  • Martin Van Buren served on the Surrogate (probate court) of Columbia County from 1808 to 1813.
  • Martin Van Buren served in the New York State Senate from 1813 to 1820.
    As a New York state senator, Martin Van Buren supported the War of 1812.
  • Concurrent with his service in the New York State Senate, Martin Van Buren was also the New York State Attorney General from 1815 to 1819.
  • In 1821, Martin Van Buren was a delegate to the New York State Constitutional Convention.
  • During his time holding office in New York, Martin Van Buren used his influence to build one of the first modern political machines known as the Bucktails.
  • Martin Van Buren earned the nickname “Little Magician” for his ability to manipulate and control New York’s government.
  • Martin Van Buren established a political machine in New York known as the Albany Regency, because of its stranglehold on New York politics.
  • Martin Van Buren served as a U.S. Senator from New York in the 17th to 20th U.S. Congresses from March 4, 1821 to December 20, 1828.
  • During his time in the U.S. Senate, Martin Van Buren chaired the judiciary committee, and he served on the finance committee where he generally opposed federally financed internal improvement projects and other big-government initiatives.
  • Martin Van Buren briefly served as Governor of New York from January to March 12, 1829.
  • Martin Van Buren briefly served as President Andrew Jackson’s Secretary of State from March 1829, until his resignation, effective May 1831.
  • Martin Van Buren briefly served as U.S. Minister to Great Britain until the Senate rejected his nomination on January 25, 1832.
  • Martin Van Buren served as Vice-President of the United States from March 4, 1833, to March 3, 1837.
  • Martin Van Buren served as President of the United States from March 4, 1837, to March 3, 1841.
    Many Americans blamed Martin Van Buren for the major recession caused by the Panic of 1837, which occurred during his presidency.
  • Consistent with his distrust of a strong central government, Martin Van Buren was reluctant to use his powers as chief executive to minimize the damage done to the U.S. economy by the Panic of 1837.
  • Martin Van Buren ordered the forced removal of Cherokee Indians that resulted in the infamous Trail of Tears.
  • Much of the Second Seminole War (1835-1842) took place during Martin Van Buren’s presidency.
  • Although Van Buren was raised in New York, he came from a slaveholding family—his father owned six slaves.
  • As an adult, Van Buren owned a slave named Tom. When Tom escaped and was later apprehended, Van Buren sold him to the captor.
  • During his inaugural address, Martin Van Buren stated that he was entering the presidency as an “uncompromising opponent of every attempt on the part of Congress to abolish slavery in the District of Columbia against the wishes of the slaveholding States, and also with a determination equally decided to resist the slightest interference with it in the States where it exists.”
  • During his presidency and beyond, Martin Van Buren consistently opposed the annexation of the Texas Republic.
  • Whig candidate William Henry Harrison soundly defeated Martin Van Buren in his bid for a second term as U.S. President I the election of 1840.
  • Delegates to the 1844 Democratic National Convention selected dark horse candidate James K. Polk as their candidate for the U.S. presidency over front runner Martin Van Buren.
  • In 1848, the Free Soil Party nominated Martin Van Buren as their presidential candidate.
  • In the 1848 presidential election, Free Soil candidate Martin Van Buren received only 10% of the popular vote and no Electoral College votes.
  • Following Martin Van Buren’s defeat in the 1848 presidential election, he retired from politics.
  • Martin Van Buren spent his final years traveling, writing, and enjoying the company of his children and grandchildren at his country estate Lindenwald in Kinderhook.
  • Martin Van Buren died of bronchial asthma and heart failure at home on July 24, 1862, at age seventy-nine.
  • Martin Van Buren is buried in the Kinderhook Reformed Dutch Church Cemetery, alongside his wife Hannah and other family members.
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Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Article Title Martin Van Buren - Facts
  • Coverage December 5, 1782 – July 24, 1862
  • Author
  • Keywords Subject: senator, vice-president, president, democratic-republican, democrat, barnburner, albany regency, free soil party, panic of 1837, trail of tears, second seminole war, texas annexation
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date July 31, 2021
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update April 29, 2021
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