#8: Martin Van Buren

August 23, 2013

President Martin Van Buren www.PresidentialFactsandTrivia.com

Facts:

Born December 8, 1782, Died July 24, 1862

Presidential Term: March 4, 1837 to March 4, 1841

President Martin Van Buren Trivia:

Van Buren was the first president who was not born a British subject …

Van Buren lived to see eight presidents succeed him, the most of any former president …

Van Buren’s nickname was “Old Kinderhook”, a nod to his birthplace in Kinderhook, New York. Van Buren liked the nickname and quite often when signing official papers, he used an abbreviation for the nickname to indicate his acceptance and approval of the topic. The abbreviation, “OK”, has become a common term meaning acceptance and approval …

One of Van Buren’s nicknames (other than Old Kinderhook) was “The Red Fox”. He was adorned with the nickname because in younger days he had red hair … and he was known as a wily politician …

After his retirement from politics, Van Buren was fond of gardening. His favorite crop to grow was potatoes …

President Van Buren was known to occasionally wear a gun holster with a loaded pistol to congressional meetings … just in case things got a little too rowdy!

Van Buren lost his bid for reelection in the 1840 campaign to William Henry Harrison. He ran for the presidency twice more, in 1844 and 1848. In 1844 he failed to secure full backing of his political party and the election ultimately went to James Polk. He received his party’s nomination in the 1848 election but was defeated handily by Zachary Taylor.

Van Buren was admantly against the annexation of Texas into the United States, primarily due to his position against the spread of slavery. He also feared drawing the country into a war with Mexico over the proposed annexation.

Van Buren’s wife died many years before he became president. During his administration, his son’s wife assumed the role of First Lady at White House social functions …

Martin Van Buren suffered from gout and traveled to France to treat the affliction …

When running for president in the 1836 election, Van Buren had the support of his predecessor, Andrew Jackson, for whom Van Buren served as vice president. It is said at Van Buren’s inauguration, he received polite applause from the crowd in attendance. It was a marked contrast to the thunderous standing ovation received by Jackson …

After Van Buren left the political arena, he embarked on a lengthy two year trip to visit Europe. During this time, he penned his autobiography. Today, it is best known for not mentioning Van Buren’s wife even once in the manuscript …

Recently, Google produced a short commercial for one of their search applications. The commercial features a school girl who is supposed to go to school in costume for “Dress Like A President Day” … we think it’s awfully clever! Here’s a link to the video:

President Martin Van Buren Literary Resources

Click on the title for more information …

“Storm Over Texas” (the story of President Martin Van Buren’s role in admitting Texas into the Union)

President Martin Van Buren Historic Site

Administered by the National Park Service, the Martin Van Buren National Historic Site is located in Van Buren’s home town of Kinderhook, New York, about a half hour from Albany. The visitor’s center is open seasonally, from mid May through October, and tours are offered on the hour from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The key attraction at the Van Buren Historic Site is his mansion, Lindenwald, which is part of Van Buren’s Lindenwald Farm. NPS Rangers lead tours of the home and grounds. The mansion is where Van Buren coordinated his presidential campaigns and hosted many dignitaries during the 1840′s and 1850′s.

This video illustrates some of the restoration work being completed at Van Buren’s Lindenwald estate:

On many Sunday afternoons, opportunities to explore the farm are offered with the appropriately titled “Farm Walks”. These are Ranger led 90 minute tours (hikes, actually) through the estate. The surrounding Catskill Mountain scenery makes this an especially desireable event. See the website linked above for specifics …

There’s a nominal fee of only $5 to visit the Martin Van Buren National Historic Site, and you can easily visit this and the Franklin D. Roosevelt Historic Site in the same day and spend the night in Albany …

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