Andrew Jackson Leaves Office; Martin Van Buren Becomes President
Martin Van Buren was the eighth President of the United States (), after serving and the tenth Secretary of State, both under President Andrew Jackson. Basically, the trouble was the 19th-century cyclical economy of “boom and. When Martin Van Buren took office, Indian removal was already going full force. Van Buren admired Andrew Jackson's bloody legacy and built on it toward Native Americans, challenges and triumphs regarding tribes, and. President Jackson then guaranteed Van Buren a nomination for vice the annexation in , in part because of the slavery issue but also to.
The impeccable attire, ready wit, and unfailing tact that set him apart from his contemporaries masked a nagging sense of insecurity that dogged him throughout his political career. His father, a tavern keeper of modest means, had been able to provide him with only a rudimentary education.
One of Van Buren's better-educated associates observed that his "knowledge of books outside of his profession was more limited than that of any other public man" he had ever known and that Van Buren never prepared a state paper without asking a friend to "revise and correct that document. He learned to hold his counsel as others debated the hotly contested issues of the day, carefully observing the course of a debate and weighing all of the issues before staking out a position of his own.
But "the Little Magician" also known as "the American Talleyrand," "the Red Fox of Kinderhook," the "Mistletoe Politician," and by a variety of other sobriquets left a solid record of accomplishment that few of his better-known fellows could rival. More than any other individual of his time, Van Buren realized the importance of party organization, discipline, and political patronage. He engineered Andrew Jackson 's victory in the presidential election and later became a trusted confidant and adviser to "Old Hickory," a relationship that continued after Van Buren became vice president in No previous vice president enjoyed a greater measure of influence than Van Buren, and no vice president, in over three decades, had assumed that office as the "heir apparent.
His father, Abraham, was a tavern keeper and farmer of modest means; his mother, Maria Goes Van Alen, was a widow with two sons from her first marriage.
Both were of undiluted Dutch ancestry, a fact that Van Buren took care to note in his Autobiography. One of the six children born to Abraham and Maria, Martin grew up in a crowded household, lodged above his father's tavern. From his father, a resolute opponent of Federalism, he inherited his genial manners and political creed but very little else.
Dilatory about collecting his debts and generous beyond his means, Abraham barely supported his large family. Young Martin inherited his ambition from his mother, who insisted that her sons receive the best education possible, given their limited resources.
He attended a local school until the age of 15, then served as an apprentice to Francis Sylvester, a local lawyer. During his apprenticeship, Van Buren became involved in local politics, attending his district's Republican convention and helping to elect John Peter Van Ness to the United States House of Representatives in These activities strained his relationship with Sylvester, a prominent Federalist, and Van Buren terminated their arrangement after the election.
Van Ness, grateful for Van Buren's efforts on his behalf, paid his young supporter's travel and expenses while he finished his legal studies in New York City, clerking for the congressman's brother, William. New York City politics fascinated Van Buren, but he returned to Kinderhook shortly after his admission to the bar in to establish a legal practice with his half brother, James Van Alen. In leaving the city he also sought to distance himself from the intraparty warfare that infected the New York Republican coalition after the presidential election.
In Kinderhook, much of Van Buren's time was spent defending tenants and small landholders in suits against the powerful Livingston clan. The Livingstons, landed gentry whose control of the New York legislature had helped them expand their extensive holdings by questionable means, had retained the best legal minds in the state. Rigorous and careful preparation on Van Buren's part helped him prevail against these notable attorneys and won him the respect of De Witt ClintonGovernor George Clinton 's nephew and political heir.
Van Buren backed Clinton's candidate, future vice president Daniel D. Tompkinsin the gubernatorial race and received for his efforts an appointment as Columbia County surrogate on March 20, The marriage was a happy one, notwithstanding the frequent absences imposed by the demands of Martin's career, but by the time their fifth son was born inHannah had contracted a fatal case of tuberculosis.
Van Buren was profoundly affected by her death in ; although much in demand as an escort and dinner companion, particularly during the years that he lived in Washington, he never remarried. Van Buren served as Columbia County surrogate from untilwhen he was elected to the New York senate. During the War ofhe was an avid supporter of the administration's war effort, offering legislation to facilitate mobilization of the state's defenses.
He opposed the Federalists' antiwar stance and broke with his mentor, De Witt Clinton, after learning that Clinton had solicited Federalist support for his presidential bid. InVan Buren became state attorney general and moved his family to Albany.
He held that office until and continued to serve in the state senate untildelegating his growing legal practice to his junior partner, Benjamin F. Van Buren soon emerged as the guiding force of the "Bucktail" faction, one of several groups jockeying for control of the New York Republican Party.
The Bucktails, opponents of De Witt Clinton who took their name from the distinctive plumes they affixed to their hats, rapidly gained in influence under Van Buren's tutelage. A Bucktail-controlled convention made major revisions in New York's constitution inexpanding the suffrage and curbing aristocratic influence, reforms that helped break De Witt Clinton's hold on the state Republican Party.
InVan Buren won election to the United States Senate, leaving behind a formidable political organization, popularly known as the "Albany Regency," that would manage the New York Republican Party—and through it, the state—while he was away. The Regency maintained rigid discipline, rewarding loyalty with patronage appointments and disciplining errant members. Although centered in Albany, the organization's control also extended to local political organizations and clubs.
Powerful as Van Buren's apparatus became, "It was not," one scholar of the period emphasizes, "so much the rewarding of partisans and the mass lopping off of rebellious heads that explained the Regency success as it was the skillful, highly judicious manner in which the power was exercised.
The "Little Magician" Once in Washington, Van Buren set about organizing the New York congressional delegation, a difficult undertaking in light of the fact that John Taylorthe unofficial dean of the delegation and Speaker of the House Representatives, was firmly in the Clinton camp. In an effort to curb Taylor's influence, Van Buren helped orchestrate the election of Virginia representative Philip Barbour as House Speaker during the 17th Congress, a narrow victory that increased his own influence while cementing his ties to Virginia Republicans.
He tried but failed to block the appointment of a Federalist as postmaster of Albany, but his effort to derail the nomination, chronicled at length by the press, enhanced his reputation.
The two had a great deal in common: Crawford was a states' rights advocate, a strict constructionist, and—a consideration of overriding importance to Van Buren—a dedicated party man. But the Republican coalition was rapidly splintering, and many Republicans, calling for reform of the nominating process, refused to heed the will of the caucus. Four other candidates ultimately entered the race, all claiming membership in the party of Jefferson: Consumed by his single-minded effort to secure Crawford's election, even after his candidate became so seriously ill that he could neither see, hear, nor walk, Van Buren was bitterly disappointed when the House of Representatives elected Adams president.
After the election, Van Buren, as the new acknowledged leader of the "Crawford" Republicans, also known as "Radicals," kept his peace while others denounced the "corrupt bargain" with Henry Clay that many suspected had elevated Adams to the White House. He voted to confirm Clay as secretary of state, but he broke his silence after Adams outlined an ambitious domestic and foreign policy agenda in his first annual address. Van Buren particularly objected to the president's plan to send representatives to a conference of South and Central American delegates in Panama and enlisted the aid of Vice President John C.
Martin Van Buren, 8th Vice President (1833-1837)
Calhoun and his allies in an effort to prevent the confirmation of delegates to the conference. The Senate ultimately confirmed the nominees, but the debate over the Panama mission had helped forge a tentative coalition of "Radicals" and Calhoun supporters under Van Buren's leadership. In Decemberthe Little Magician formalized his alliance with Calhoun, who had already pledged his support for Andrew Jackson in the forthcoming presidential race.
Each man had his own agenda: Calhoun intended to succeed Jackson, after serving a second term as vice president; Van Buren, alarmed by Adams' grandiose agenda and convinced that Republicans had strayed from the Jeffersonian creed, intended to restore the party to its "first principles.
The candidate remained in the background while the Little Magician orchestrated a battle plan of unprecedented energy and vigor.
His campaigning was, in the words of one scholar, "little short of brilliant. Several states had, prior to the election, revised their election laws to expand the franchise. With parades, rallies, speeches, and calls for "reform," Van Buren and his lieutenants mesmerized these first-time voters, as well as others who had become disenchanted with the administration.
The growing protectionist sentiment in the West and in the Northeast posed particular problems for Van Buren, who could not afford to alienate southern free-trade advocates. Courting both camps, he studiously avoided making a definitive pronouncement on the tariff, even as he deftly guided a protectionist bill through the Senate. The tariff, known in the South as the "Tariff of Abominations," reassured westerners, who might otherwise have remained in the "Adams-Clay" fold, that a Jackson administration would take their interests into account.
Van Buren realized that protectionism was anathema to southern agriculturalists, but he also realized that most southerners regarded Jackson as the lesser of two evils. As one scholar has conceded, during the tariff debate Van Buren "said some very equivocal things to Southerners," helping them convince themselves that, once elected, Old Hickory would support tariff reform.
Secretary of State Van Buren Jackson won an impressive victory inwidely heralded as a triumph of the "common man. But he served less than two months in this position, resigning to accept an appointment as secretary of state in the new administration.
Van Buren was easily the most capable individual in Jackson's cabinet, an assortment of second-rank appointees chosen to achieve sectional and ideological balance. During his two years as secretary of state from tohe became one of the president's most trusted advisers.
He arrived in the capital shortly after Jackson's inauguration to find the cabinet—and Washington society—at odds over Mrs. Calhoun's adamant refusal to socialize with the wife of Secretary of War John Eaton, a woman with a spirited disposition and a notorious reputation. Several cabinet wives had followed suit, avoiding official functions for fear of encountering the tainted couple. The "Petticoat War" was, as Van Buren realized, much more than a dispute over protocol or public morals; it was a symptom of the deep divisions in an administration that included both free-trade advocates and protectionists.
The tension became even more pronounced after Jackson delivered his first annual message. His speech, prepared with Van Buren's assistance, convinced Vice President Calhoun and his allies that they would obtain no relief from the Tariff of Abominations. As for Van Buren, he suspected—correctly, as it turned out—that Calhoun was somehow behind the talk of "nullification" emanating from South Carolina. Van Buren at first tried to cure what he called "the Eaton malaria," the malaise that threatened to paralyze the administration, by entertaining the Eatons.
As a widower with no wife to object if he showed courtesy to a woman of questionable repute, he had nothing to lose by entertaining Mrs. Eaton and everything to gain, given the high regard that Jackson felt for Peggy and her husband.
He was no match for the formidable Floride Calhoun, however, and he soon became persona non grata among the Calhoun set, but his gallantry endeared him to the president. Accompanying Jackson on horseback for their customary rides throughout the countryside surrounding Washington, Van Buren became the president's sounding board and friend, offering well-timed and perceptive counsel to the care-burdened and lonely old hero.
He helped craft the president's memorable toast: It must be preserved" that electrified the April 13,banquet commemorating Jefferson's birthday, and he helped persuade Jackson to run for a second term. Calhoun simmered with resentment as the man he considered a "weasel" gained the upper hand in a rivalry that was becoming increasingly bitter. Van Buren, although every bit as ambitious as Calhoun, became increasingly discomfited at the widespread speculation that he, and not Calhoun, would succeed Jackson as president.
Recoiling at the thought that his opponents might interpret his labors on Jackson's behalf as a crude form of electioneering, he informed the president in late March of that "there is but one thing" that would bring peace to Jackson's troubled administration: Van Buren's departure precipitated the mass resignation of the entire cabinet, except for Postmaster General William Barry.
The new cabinet was distinctly more sympathetic to Jackson—and to Van Buren. As a reward for his "highly patriotic" sacrifice, the Little Magician received an appointment as minister to England. Van Buren sailed for England before the Senate confirmed his nomination.
His easy, elegant manners made him an instant hit in London. Almost immediately, he received the British foreign minister's pledge to respect the rulings of the panel arbitrating the longstanding boundary dispute between Maine and New Brunswick.
Jackson had predicted that Van Buren's enemies would not dare oppose this appointment, for fear that "the people in mass would take you up and elect you vice Pres. Jackson was furious when he heard the news but, after sober reflection, realized that he now had ample justification for removing Calhoun from the ticket in the coming election.
He had already settled on Van Buren as his next vice president, but Calhoun's effrontery strengthened his resolve. Once Van Buren's most formidable rival for the soul of the organization soon to be known as the Democratic Party, he had become a sectional leader and would remain a sectional leader for the rest of his life.
The Election of Van Buren found every reason imaginable to remain abroad after learning of his rejection by the Senate. He could not break his lease or abruptly discharge his servants, he protested, nor could he pack up his household on such short notice. But his biographer suggests that he delayed his departure because he believed that the "opposition would splinter.
7 Presidential Facts About Martin Van Buren
Although anti-tariff southern Democrats had serious reservations about Van Buren, Jackson's sentiments prevailed. By an overwhelming margin, the convention chose Van Buren on the first ballot. Finally returning home in Julythe Little Magician was immediately summoned to Washington. Jackson needed his help in drafting a message to Congress explaining his impending veto of a bill to recharter the Second Bank of the United States.
Van Buren approved of the veto message, a ringing denunciation of the bank as an instrument of privilege. At Jackson's request, he attended the Senate and the House of Representatives on July 10, in order to lobby against the inevitable attempt to override the veto. Also at Jackson's request, he lobbied for a compromise tariff designed to keep would-be nullifiers in the Jacksonian camp.
Successful in both efforts, he departed for New York after Congress adjourned. He remained in New York until shortly before the inauguration, attempting to reconcile die-hard New York protectionists to the compromise tariff.
The election was, as one scholar of the period has observed, a referendum on the Second Bank of the United States, the first presidential election in which the candidates submitted a single, specific question to the electorate. Jackson was a "hard-money" man, deeply suspicious of banks, credit, and paper money after suffering near ruin in an early land speculation venture.
Regarding the Second Bank of the United States, a government-chartered but privately owned institution, as an instrument of aristocratic, monied interests, he would have announced his intention to destroy the bank in his first annual message had his advisers not counseled restraint.
Fully confident that the voters would signal their assent by electing him to a second term, Jackson had vetoed the bank recharter bill before the election. National Republican candidate Henry Clay, who considered the bank essential to the nation's fiscal stability, was quick to make an issue of the veto.
Clay's partisans took aim at the Little Magician, as well, charging that his feats of legerdemain had secured the throne for a president who had abused his office.
Political cartoons showed Jackson, Van Buren, and their cronies assaulting the bank with a battering ram, Van Buren crowning Jackson, and "King Andrew the First" brandishing the "veto. But the National Republicans were no match for the well-organized party that Van Buren had helped create. One scholar has suggested that the majority of American voters still regarded Jackson as their champion, even though they may well have approved of the bank, which provided the nation with the stable currency so essential to its prosperity.
The Democrats, now a full-fledged political party, won a solid victory, although by a somewhat smaller margin than in Jackson was easily reelected, and Van Buren won a substantial victory over Clay's running mate, John Sergeant.
Vice President Van Buren Jackson had every reason to rejoice at the outcome of the election. The voters had, he believed, given him a mandate to destroy the bank, and he was rid of Calhoun. But not everyone agreed. His opponents said tyrants have always spoken in the name of the people. They said Jackson used his popularity to do whatever he wanted, whether it was legal or not. His opponents in Congress even denounced him with a censure resolution for not releasing some of his papers to the government.
Jackson did not think it was right for Indian tribes to exist as independent nations within the United States. Historian Daniel Feller points out that the United States government had tried to get Indians to move away from white settlements for a long time — long before Jackson became president.
Jackson took the position that they needed to be removed now. The bill allowed him to create new Indian homelands in the Oklahoma territory, an area west of the Mississippi River where few white Americans lived at the time. The federal government would essentially trade the Indians their old land for the new land, and pay for tribes to move west permanently.
That Indian tribes that remained in proximity to whites simply disintegrated. Their tribal structure, their national structure, disintegrated. Besides, the Indians did not have much choice. Jackson told them that if they did not accept his offer, their nations would be controlled by the American government. The Chickasaw, Choctaw and Creeks agreed under pressure.
They even took their case to the Supreme Court, which agreed that the Indians were independent from state authority. Eventually, soldiers forced the Cherokees from their homes and marched them over 1, kilometers to Oklahoma. More than 5, died. The forced march later became known as the Trail of Tears. The United States government did not meet the terms of the treaty. Few Indians were paid for their goods.
7 Presidential Facts About Martin Van Buren | Mental Floss
Most were not given food and other supplies during the journey or when they arrived in Oklahoma. Daniel Feller notes that the United States has a long history of defaulting on its treaties with Indian nations, both before and after Andrew Jackson.
Andrew Jackson might not have intended for the Indians to suffer so much, but he did not lead his government to respect and protect them either.
It leaves a lot of dead people, and a lot of displaced or abused populations behind it, including Indians, including slaves, including personally the people he shot.
It shows this American character in both you might say its best and its most disturbing light at the same time. Andrew Jackson had served for eight years. He did not want another term.
He supported his vice president, Martin Van Buren. Van Buren had been very close to the outgoing president.Martin Van Buren Documentary
In the election ofVan Buren had been successful in forming a strong political alliance. This alliance helped put Jackson in the White House. Jackson was grateful for Van Buren's help, and asked him to come to Washington to serve as secretary of state.
Van Buren quickly became the most powerful man in Jackson's cabinet. He was able to help Jackson in negotiations with Britain and France. But his greatest help was in building a strong political party for Jackson. Van Buren built up the Democratic Party by removing people from government jobs if they had not supported Jackson. These jobs were then given to those who had supported the president. Ultimately, it was the Democratic Party that gave Jackson wide support for his policies. By this time, Jackson had decided that Van Buren would be the best man to follow him as president.
Jackson offered to resign after the elections and give Van Buren the job of president. Van Buren rejected the offer.