Martin Van Buren — Facts and Accomplishments of the 8th President of the United States

December 5, 1782–July 24, 1862

Interesting and fun facts about Martin Van Buren, a U.S. Senator, Secretary of State, Vice-President, and the 8th President of the United States.

Martin Van Buren, President, Portrait, Brady

Eighth President of the United States, Martin Van Buren was the first president to be born as a citizen of the United States. Image Source: Metropolitan Museum of Art.

10 Facts About Martin Van Buren You Should Know

  1. Martin Van Buren was the 8th President of the United States, following Andrew Jackson.
  2. Van Buren was the first President who was born as a resident of the United States of America. He was born on December 5, 1782, six years after America declared independence from Great Britain.
  3. He could not afford college, so he spent 21 years working as an apprentice, before becoming a lawyer.
  4. Van Buren gained a reputation for being able to manipulate politics in New York, earning the nickname “Little Magician” and building the “Albany Regency,” one of the early political machines.
  5. He was part of President Andrew Jackson’s famous “Kitchen Cabinet.”
  6. Van Buren was elected President in 1836 but only served one term.
  7. He famously declared that he would oppose any attempts to abolish slavery in the South.
  8. Van Buren’s time in office was plagued with controversy, including the Panic of 1837 and the Trail of Tears. He also opposed the Annexation of Texas.
  9. He lost the Presidential Election of 1840 to William Henry Harrison.
  10. Van Buren was nominated for President by the Free Soil Party in 1848 but lost to Zachary Taylor.

One Famous Quote from Martin Van Buren

One of his famous quotes was, “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 Birth Facts

  • Name — Martin Van Buren.
  • Date of Birth — December 5, 1782.
  • Birthplace — Kinderhook, New York (a small Dutch community near Albany).
  • Parents — Abraham and Maria (Hoes) Van Buren.

Martin Van Buren’s Nicknames

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

Education and Occupation Facts

  • Martin Van Buren studied at a local primary school
  • He worked as a lawyer and politician his entire career.

Political Offices Held

  • Eighth U.S. President
  • U.S. Senator
  • U.S Congressman,
  • New York Governor

Spouse

  • Hannah Hoes (1807)

Facts About the Death of Martin Van Buren

  • Died on — July 24, 1862.
  • Place of Death — Kinderhook, New York.
  • Place of Burial — Reformed Dutch Church Cemetery, Kinderhook, New York.

Important Facts About Martin Van Buren

  • 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.

Early Life

  • 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.

Democratic-Republican

  • 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.

Marriage to Hannah Hoes

  • 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.

New York Politics

  • Martin Van Buren served on the Surrogate (probate court) of Columbia County from 1808 to 1813.
  • Van Buren served in the New York State Senate from 1813 to 1820.
  • As a New York state senator, he supported the War of 1812.
  • Concurrent with his service in the New York State Senate, Van Buren was also the New York State Attorney General from 1815 to 1819.
  • In 1821, he was a delegate to the New York State Constitutional Convention.

The Little Magician and the Albany Regency

  • While holding office in New York, Martin Van Buren used his influence to build one of the first modern political machines known as the Bucktails.
  • Van Buren earned the nickname “Little Magician” for his ability to manipulate and control New York’s government.
  • He established a political machine in New York known as the Albany Regency, because of its stranglehold on New York politics.

Senator and Governor

  • Martin Van Buren served as a U.S. Senator from New York in the 17th to 20th U.S. Congress from March 4, 1821, to December 20, 1828.
  • During his time in the U.S. Senate, 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.
  • He briefly served as Governor of New York from January to March 12, 1829.

Jackson Administration and Vice President

  • Martin Van Buren briefly served as Secretary of State under President Andrew Jackson from March 1829, until his resignation, effective May 1831.
  • Van Buren briefly served as U.S. Minister to Great Britain until the Senate rejected his nomination on January 25, 1832.
  • He Buren served as Vice-President of the United States from March 4, 1833, to March 3, 1837.

President Van Buren

  • 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 which resulted in the infamous Trail of Tears.
  • Much of the Second Seminole War (1835-1842) took place during Martin Van Buren’s presidency.
  • During his presidency and beyond, Martin Van Buren consistently opposed the annexation of the Texas Republic.

Connections to Slavery

  • 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.”

Presidential Elections of 1840 and 1844

  • Whig candidate William Henry Harrison soundly defeated Martin Van Buren in his bid for a second term as U.S. President in 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 Van Buren.

Van Buren and the Free Soil Party

  • In 1848, the Free Soil Party nominated Martin Van Buren as their presidential candidate.
  • In the 1848 presidential election, Free Soil candidate Van Buren received only 10% of the popular vote and no Electoral College votes.
  • Following his defeat in the 1848 presidential election, he retired from politics.

Later Years, Death, and Burial

  • 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.
  • Van Buren died of bronchial asthma and heart failure at home on July 24, 1862, at age seventy-nine.
  • He is buried in the Kinderhook Reformed Dutch Church Cemetery, alongside his wife Hannah and other family members.

Learn More About Martin Van Buren

Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations, including APA Style, Chicago Style, and MLA Style.

  • Article Title Martin Van Buren — Facts and Accomplishments of the 8th President of the United States
  • Date December 5, 1782–July 24, 1862
  • Author
  • Keywords 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 May 25, 2024
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update March 20, 2024

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