American Culture: Martin Van Buren Mini Biography
Martin Van Buren (Dutch: Maarten van Buren pronunciation (help·info); December 5, 1782 – July 24, 1862) was an American politician who served as the eighth President of the United States (1837–41). He was the first president to be born after the United States Declaration of Independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. A member of the Democratic Party, he served in a number of other senior roles, including eighth Vice President (1833–37) and tenth Secretary of State (1829–31), both under Andrew Jackson. Van Buren won the presidency by promising to continue Jackson’s policies. Shortly after taking office, the Panic of 1837 struck the nation, and his inability to deal effectively with the economic crisis, combined with the growing political strength of the opposition Whig Party, led to his defeat in the 1840 presidential election. During his half-century of public service, he built, perfected, and defended a new system of political parties at first the state and then the federal level. In New York he reorganized the Democratic-Republican Party and established the Albany Regency to keep it in power. He then moved on Washington where he did more than anyone to construct the modern Democratic Party which dominated American politics down to the American Civil War.
Martin Van Buren was born on December 5, 1782, in the village of Kinderhook, New York about 20 miles (32 km) south of Albany on the Hudson River. Van Buren was the first President not born a British subject, or even of British ancestry. He was a descendant of Cornelis Maessen of the village of Buurmalsen, near the town of Buren in the Netherlands, who had come to North America in 1631 and had purchased a plot of land on Manhattan Island; his son Martin Cornelisen took the surname Van Buren. His father, Abraham van Buren (1737–1817), was an inn–tavern keeper, and Martin was born in a house that was attached to the tavern.Abraham Van Buren supported the Patriot cause during the American Revolution as a captain in the Albany County Militia’s 7th Regiment, and later joined the Jeffersonian Republicans. He was active in local politics and government, and served as Kinderhook’s town clerk from 1787 to 1797. Martin Van Buren’s mother was Maria Hoes (or Goes) Van Alen Van Buren (1747–1818). She had been married to Johannes Van Alen. After Johannes’ death, she married Abraham Van Buren in 1776.