Biography of Martin Van Buren


Van Buren, Martin. American statesman and eighth president of the United States. Born of Knickerbocker stock in Columbia County, NY, 1782. After studying law and becoming a member of the bar, he was elected by the Democratic Party to the state senate in 1812, and became attorney-general in 1815. In 1816 Van Buren largely contributed to the organization of the so-called Albany regency, a political body which maintained a political ascendancy for many years in the state. In 1821, Van Buren entered the National Senate, and was re-elected in 1827. As a senator, Van Buren supported the tariff of 1828 and, in the same year, was elected governor of New York. In 1829 he became secretary of state in President Jackson's cabinet, resigning the same in April, 1831. After the rejection by the senate of his nomination as minister to England, he was elected vice president of the republic and, in 1836, became the successful Democratic candidate for the presidential chair. During his tenure of office occurred the financial crisis of 1837 and the suspension of specie payments by the banks, a state of things which induced the president to recommend to Congress the establishment of an independent treasury-a measure carried into effect in 1840. In the latter year, Van Buren's re-nomination for the presidency was defeated by General Harrison and, in 1841, he temporarily retired into private life. His third candidature for the presidency, in 1844, was frustrated by the Southern vote, and he subsequently seceded from the Democrats to become a Free-soiler , and the unsuccessful nominee of the latter party in the presidential election in 1848. Died 1862.