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Interesting US History
A Website Devoted to Interesting Events in U.S. History




8th President (1837-1841)

Born: December 5, 1782
Died: July 24, 1862

Vice President: Richard M. Johnson

Political Party: Democratic

Next PresidentWilliam Henry Harrison

Previous President:  Andrew Jackson


Martin Van Buren

American history is filled with presidents who were put to the test during trying times and created legacies that would live on in history for many generations to come. The eighth president of the United States was Martin Van Buren, and his accomplishment of founding the Democratic Party helped to shape modern politics as we know it. He started his ascent into the public spotlight when he became Andrew Jackson’s Secretary of State and then was elevated to vice president in Jackson’s second term. Van Buren served one term that spanned from 1837 to 1841. Despite his popularity and political activism, he was unable to win a second term as his administration was blamed for much of the financial instability of the day.

Martin Van Buren was born in Kinderhook, New York on December 5, 1782 to Abraham and Maria Van Buren. Abraham Van Buren was a staunch supporter of the American Revolution but never got to see his son take the oath as president because Abraham died while his son Martin was still a New York State Senator. Martin Van Buren has the distinction of being the first American president born as a natural citizen of the United States. All previous presidents were born in America prior to the Revolution when there was no United States. As part of his upbringing, Martin Van Buren spoke Dutch fluently as well as English.

Martin Van Buren married Hannah Hoes on February 21, 1807. The two had been a couple since they were children and their marriage was not unexpected. The couple had five sons and one daughter. The sons were Abraham, John, Martin, Jr., Winfield Scott, Smith Thompson and the daughter was never named as she was stillborn. Hannah Van Buren also spoke Dutch as she and Martin were raised in the same neighborhood. Hannah Van Buren would never get to fulfill her role as first lady as she passes away from tuberculosis on February 5, 1819 and Martin Van Buren never remarried.

Martin Van Buren was a politician since he was 17 years old. By the time he ascended to the presidency in 1837, the country was headed for a horrible economic crisis. Van Buren’s inability to handle the financial problems cost him a chance at re-election in 1840. Van Buren would attempt an unsuccessful run for the presidency again in 1848 as a member of the Free Soil Party, but he was unsuccessful.

Notable Martin Van Buren Quotes

"The less government interferes with private pursuits, the better for general prosperity."

"There is a power in public opinion in this country - and I thank God for it: for it is the most honest and best of all powers - which will not tolerate an incompetent or unworthy man to hold in his weak or wicked hands the lives and fortunes of his fellow-citizens."

The Only President to...

Although Martin Van Buren was the first president to be born an American citizen (all previous presidents were born before the revolution), he was the only president not to speak English as his first language. He grew up speaking Dutch.

He was one of only two people to have served as Secretary of State, Vice President, and President. The other was Thomas Jefferson.