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Martin Van Buren: A Presidential Unit

Martin Van Buren, the 8th US President, was born December 5, 1782 in Kinderhook, New York. He died July 24, 1862. He was the son of a truck farmer/innkeeper father and became interested in politics when he met politicians who stopped by the inn on their way to and from the state capital.

Political Party: Democrat
Years Served: 1837 - 1841
Vice President(s): Richard Johnson
Name of his parents: Abraham Van Buren and Maria Hoes
Wife’s name: Hannah Hoes
Yearly Salary as President: $25,000.00
Physical Stature: 5 feet, 6 inches
State of Birth: New York

“Martin Van Buren was the son of a truck farmer/innkeeper. He met politicians who stopped by the inn on their way to and from the state capital. He became a law clerk at the age of fourteen after attending a village school. By twenty-one he had a successful law practice. He was ambitious as a politican. He was nicknamed ‘Little Magician’ because of his political prowess and his small size. He helped Andrew Jackson win the presidency, and as a reward Jackson appointed him secretary of state and then vice president. In 1836, Van Buren was elected President. Soon after, the nation suffered a financial depression. Van Buren’s popularity decreased because of the financial panic, border disputes and accusations from pro-slavery and anti-slavery leaders. He was defeated in his bed for a second term and a third time in 1848 when he ran on the Free Soil Party ticket – a group opposed to slavery.”

On Line Lesson Plans:

Van Buren from TeacherVision
Martin Van Buren from DiscoverySchool.com
Presidential Thinkquest

Coloring Pages, Crafts, and Fun Activities:

Presidential Finger Puppets
Annie’s Page
Martin Van Buren from Enchanted Learning

On Line Resources:

The Biography of Martin Van Buren
Martin Van Buren on the Internet Public Library
Martin Van Buren Home Page
Van Buren from InfoPlease
American Presidents’ Life Portraits
The American Presidency from Grollier
White House Historical Society
The History Buff -- US Presidents
Roll Call of the Presidents

Trivia Questions:

1. What were two of Martin Van Buren’s nicknames? [Answer: "The Little Magician"; "The Red Fox of Kinderhook"].

2. What were the names of Martin Van Buren’s children? [Answer: Abraham Van Buren (1807-73); John Van Buren (1810-66); Martin Van Buren (1812-55); Smith Thompson Van Buren (1817-76)]

3. What other government positions did Van Buren hold? [Answer: 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; Minister to England, 1831; Vice President, 1832-1837]

Of Note:

Van Buren was the first president born in 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.


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