Martin Van Buren

Picture of Martin Van Buren

Date of Birth: 05/12/1782

Age: 79

Place of birth: Kinderhuk

Citizenship: United States


Successor Jackson was in many ways the antithesis of the "Old Hickory", stocky, affable and friendly, while carefully maneuvering, not temperamental daredevil, most people who offend to underestimate him, "Little magician", this was one of his not very flattering nicknames.

His ancestors were originally from the Netherlands, and in 1631 settled in the upper Hudson Valley near Albany today. Here Kinderhuke, New York, December 5, 1782 born Martin Van Buren. His father, Abraham Van Buren, a respected farmer and innkeeper, had made a modest fortune, and his mother Mary Howes was also of a prominent family of Dutch origin. Martin was the third of five children and the oldest son of Abraham and Mary Van Buren.

Receiving school education, which is at the end of the XVIII century could offer little Kinderhuk, but in which, however, included the basics of Latin, fourteen Martin Van Buren went to the office to learn to be a lawyer. When in 1803 he received a permit to work in the court, not only managed to lay the foundations for long-term successful lawyer career, but also to get known in local politics as a staunch supporter of the Jeffersonian Republicans.

Policy became in the end the main content of his life, all the more so in 1819 died from tuberculosis of his youthful love Hannah Howes, a distant relative of his mother, whom he married in 1807, and he remained a widower. In 1812, he defeated the Federalists deputy in the elections to the Senate in New York and in the following years played an increasingly significant role in the politics of his native state. So, along with other Republicans, he created the so-called "Albany Regency," a political group that for years defined the policy of the State of New York. At the constitutional convention in New York in 1821, he successfully argued for the democratization of the political system of their state. In the same year he defeated a former deputy in the legislature of New York in the election of one of the two senators to Washington State.

In Washington, Van Buren more showed himself as an opponent of President Adams and was soon forced to join the Andrew Jackson. For the election of Jackson, he created in 1828 by a coalition of the South and the North, while, in spite of the just passed his re-election senator refused the mandate to stand as a candidate for governor of New York. The meaning of this political move was to tow their elections at the same time provide a voice for Jackson in New York, already two months later, in March 1829, Van Buren left his new post and took office as foreign minister in Jackson Government . As the most loyal and reliable Jackson employee, in 1831 he resigned to give the president the opportunity to conduct the necessary transformation of his office. After that, Jackson appointed him ambassador to the UK, but the Senate for party-political reasons, did not give consent. If some opponents had hoped to put this premature end to the career of Van Buren long ago became a professional politician, they soon learned that Jackson clings to Van Buren and convention Democrats Nominating chose him in 1832 required a majority of 2/3 of a candidate for the post of Vice-President and thus the successor to Calhoun. According to Jackson`s request to Van Buren it was his political successor, the Democratic convention unanimously chose him as a presidential candidate in May 1835 and put forward by Richard M. Johnson of Kentucky candidate for vice-president.

The party and political opponents of Jackson and Van Buren were united while the Whigs, but failed to reach unanimity on the common candidate, so that in 1836, along with William Henry Harrison of Ohio, in the fight to take Hugh Lawson White of Tennessee and Daniel Webster Massachusetts and, in addition, still Willie P. Mangum as an independent Democrat from South Carolina. The fragmentation of the votes of the West and South Van Buren facilitated the victory. However, he was able to write in their asset 765 000 votes, ie. E. Almost 10% more than the Jackson four years ago, but in reality the results of elections in most states showed only a slight gap, and at the end of the share of Van Buren vote was 50 ,8%. The election board result was clearly better. In contrast to the 1832 Democratic Rhode Island and Connecticut won and Noo Jersey, part of Maryland, Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee and Georgia lost, so that Van Buren received 170 of 294 votes, while Harrison as his most important candidate opposition to 36.6% of the vote received only 73 seats. Hope many of the Whigs that they will be able to prevent the majority in the electoral college, in 1824, to a vote by the House of Representatives, it was not justified.

Despite the approval of and the later time, with the introduction of Van Buren office began a third term presidency, Jackson, Van Buren, in many ways represented a new beginning. It was the first President, for which the War of Independence and the Revolution were the legacy of history, rather than actually they experienced. So he was able to develop a different, less emotional attitude to the UK and to promote a new assessment of the political parties as the basis of the democratic system. More than any other president before and after him, Van Buren believed in the value and function of a modern political party in a democratic party state, the formation of which he also contributed more than all his predecessors. As one of its permanent merit should be considered that he has created an orderly competition of parties and brought it into line with the constitutional institutions of the country.

The rest of his presidency took place not under a lucky star. The rapid development of trade and money during the presidency of Jackson, favored economic and financial speculation and the creation of banks, which grew everywhere from under the ground, standing on feet of clay, and Jackson`s policy in this area did not contribute to any reduction or stimulation confidence. The economic crisis of 1837 (panic in 1837) did not arise by chance. Two months after the entry into Van Buren office collapsed first banks in New York, they were followed by others throughout the country. The crisis has affected the state - and the legacy of Jackson`s policy, as is threatened if not lost altogether, the state money, scattered in many deposit banks, and the presidency of Van Buren was characterized by, inter alia, persistent political efforts to establish an independent deposit system in the framework of public financial management.

The economy and society are also affected by the most severe economic crisis of XIX century. In New York, came to food riots, mass unemployment has grown, prices have fallen. More than any other single event, the economic crisis, which lasted until the forties, it was to blame for the fact that all the efforts of Van Buren made for re-election in 1848, were in vain.

However, his government has been progress, for example, in foreign policy. So, in the winter 1837-38 gg. on the Niagara River in the winter 1838-39 gg. in the north-eastern border with Maine have been serious incidents with the United Kingdom, each of which could easily become a pretext for a new US-British war. In both cases, Van Buren sent American troops under General Winfield Scott to the border with Canada region, but with an indication to avoid open conflict and to reach amicable solutions. He managed in such a way not only to prevent the war, but also pave the way for the treaty Webster and Eshbartona in 1842, in which sixty years after independence was finally, in accordance with international law, agreed upon by the north-eastern United States border in the disputed border area Maine and New Brunswick

Ban Buren could not enjoy the fruits of this success. How strongly in the elections in 1840 the Democrats were in favor of Van Buren, also unanimously Whigs were this time William Harrison. Van Buren effect is clearly increased participation in the elections received half as many votes than four years ago, but its share of the vote fell to 46.8%, while Harrison has reached 52.9%. The election board result was even more pronounced. For Van Buren voted seven states with a total of 60 votes. Harrison received almost four times as much. Not for the last time, because of such resistance. Had to take up to 24 years before the next time and under very different circumstances, the president is in office, he announced his candidacy for re-election.

However, despite the defeat, Van Buren retired from politics without bitterness and anger. On a farm in New York, he was preparing his comeback after a few years in active politics. To this end, in 1842, he embarked on a long trip to the United States, on which the end of it everywhere felt solid candidate for the presidency of the Democrats in the elections in 1844. The fact that these hopes did not come true, was to blame, not least Calhoun, but above all Van Buren himself. In order to prevent Van Buren victory, Calhoun on the decisive phase before the elections set in motion the issue of the annexation of Texas, which is engaged aggressively. He realized that Van Buren in recent years is sympathetic to the opponents of slavery and therefore be against the expansion of the area of ??the slave states by joining Texas. Accordingly uniquely Van Buren made before the Convention to nominate candidates. The consequence of this position of principle was that Van Buren in seven rounds was unable to overcome by himself put forward in 1832 by the barrier two-thirds majority, although there was a clear favorite of delegates from the north-eastern and north-western states. In this situation, stepped forward James K. Polk, stay in the shade before, as a compromise candidate who managed to persuade the convention unanimously support it.

Van Buren again retired to his estate, but the debate over policy Shelf and growing split the Democratic Party in New York between radical opponents of slavery, and conservative politicians, who for the sake of party unity were ready to accept the spread of slavery, have left the old party politics aside. Becoming stronger opponent of slavery, he finally was ready to sacrifice the unity of the party and, due to the split of the existing two-party system of the new anti-slavery party, Free Soil Party, announced his candidacy for the 1848 elections.

Even if Van Buren, who took third place in the elections, and did not reach its goal, the result in many respects, was of great importance. For the first time the question of slavery was the large theme of the election campaign, and for the first time seething conflict between North and South was reflected in the election results. Van Buren received a remarkable 10% of the vote, however, was not given the 200 voters in both states within the border of Delaware and Maryland, a single vote in the South. In the state of New York and Massachusetts made its share of votes at 29%, and he was able to push the Democratic candidate and supporter of slavery Cass Lewis in third place. Indirectly Van Buren reached thus its goal and prevented the victory of the Cashier, so selected Zachary Taylor was 47% of the vote and 163 members of the election board against 127 who voted for Cass.

It was the last major speech of Van Buren in national politics. Despite all this, he was not going to leave the idea of ??the unity of the Union, and again made peace with the Democratic Party. In his old age has taken since 1853 to 1855, a lot of traveling in Europe and began to write his biography, which has never been completed, but so far the most detailed biography of former US president. In it, he reiterated his faith in the political parties and the modern party state. When the major parties of Democrats and the Whigs in the late 50-ies of the XIX century differed on the question of slavery, almost octogenarian Van Buren could register it only from a distance, without being able to intervene. In the midst of the Civil War, July 24, 1862, Van Buren died of asthma, which is increasingly aggravated, at his estate in Lindenvald Kinderhuke in recent years.