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Martin Van Buren

8th President of the United States
(March 4, 1837 to March 3, 1841)

Nicknames: "The Little Magician"; "The Red Fox of Kinderhook"

Born: December 5, 1782, in Kinderhook, New York
Died: July 24, 1862, in Kinderhook, New York

Father: Abraham Van Buren
Mother: Maria Hoes Van Buren
Married: Hannah Hoes (1783-1819), on February 21, 1807
Children: Abraham Van Buren (1807-73); John Van Buren (1810-66); Martin Van Buren (1812-55); Smith Thompson Van Buren (1817-76)

Religion: Dutch Reformed
Education: Graduated from Kinderhook Academy (1796)
Occupation: Lawyer
Political Party: Democrat
Other Government Positions:

  • New York State Senator, 1813-15

  • New York Attorney-General, 1815-19

  • United States Senator, 1821-29

  • Governor of New York, 1829

  • Secretary of State, 1829-1831 (under tiny U.S. flag Jackson)

  • Minister to England, 1831

  • Vice President, 1833-1837 (under tiny U.S. flag Jackson)

Presidential Salary: $25,000/year

Presidential Election Results:



Popular Votes

Electoral Votes


Martin Van Buren




tiny U.S. flag William H. Harrison




Hugh L. White




Daniel Webster




Willie P. Mangum




tiny U.S. flag William H. Harrison




Martin Van Buren



Vice President: Richard M. Johnson (1837-41)


Secretary of State

John Forsyth (1837-41)

Secretary of the Treasury

Levi Woodbury (1837-41)

Secretary of War

Joel R. Poinsett (1837-41)

Attorney General

Benjamin F. Butler (1837-38)

Felix Grundy (1838-39)

Henry D. Gilpin (1840-41)

Postmaster General

Amos Kendall (1837-40)

John M. Niles (1840-41)

Secretary of the Navy

Mahlon Dickerson (1837-38)

James K. Paulding (1838-41)

Notable Events:

  • 1837

    • Banks closed in Philadelphia and New York City on May 10. This was the beginning of the Panic of 1837. The depression that followed would last throughout Van Buren's term.

  • 1838

    • Trail of Tears. Thousands of Indians forced from their homes and die.

  • 1840

Internet Biographies:

Martin Van Buren -- from The Presidents of the United States of America

Compiled by the White House.

Martin Van Buren -- from Table of Presidents and Vice Presidents of the United States - MSN Encarta

Grolier Online has created this resource from its collection of print articles in Encyclopedia Americana. Contains a full biography, written by James A. Beatson of New Mexico Highlands University, along with suggestions for further reading.

Martin Van Buren -- from The American President

From the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia, in addition to information on the Presidents themselves, they have first lady and cabinet member biographies, listings of presidential staff and advisers, and timelines detailing significant events in the lives of each administration.

Historical Documents:

Inaugural Address (1837)

Other Internet Resources:

Martin Van Buren National Historic Site

Home of Van Buren from 1839, in Kinderhook, New York, which he named Lindenwald. Tourist information available.

Points of Interest:

  • Van Buren was the first president born in the United States. All previous presidents were born before the United States became country, although all were born in places that would later be a part of the United States.

  • His autobiography does not mention his wife once.

  • Van Buren took $100,000, the sum of his salary as president over four years, in a lump sum at the end of his term.

  • The term "O.K." was popularized because of Van Buren. Van Buren was from Kinderhook, New York, sometimes referred to as Old Kinderhook in speeches and print. O.K. Clubs soon formed to support Van Buren's campaign. "O.K." later came to mean all right.

  • Van Buren made three unsuccessful bids for reelection.




Martin Van Buren

8th President of the United States
(March 4, 1837 to March 3, 1841)


Hannah Van Buren