Miller Center

American President

Martin Van Buren (1782–1862)

Portrait of Martin Van Buren

Facts at a Glance

8th President of the United States (1837–1841)
December 5, 1782, Kinderhook, New York
“The Little Magician,” “The Red Fox of Kinderhook”
Kinderhook Academy (graduated 1796)
Dutch Reformed
February 21, 1807, to Hannah Hoes (1783–1819)
Abraham (1807–1873), John (1810–1866), Martin (1812–1855), Winfield Scott (1813), Smith Thompson (1817–1876)
Political Party
Inquiry into the Origin and Course of Political Parties in the United States (1867); The Autobiography of Martin Van Buren (1920), ed. by John C. Fitzpatrick
July 24, 1862, Kinderhook, New York
Kinderhook Cemetery, Kinderhook, New York
A Life in Brief
Martin Van Buren said that the two happiest days of his life were his entrance into the office of President and his surrender of the office. While his political opponents were glad to see him go—they nicknamed him “Martin Van Ruin”—many Americans were not. More »

Essays on Martin Van Buren and His Administration

Martin Van Buren
A Life in Brief
Life Before the Presidency
Campaigns and Elections
Domestic Affairs
Foreign Affairs
Life After the Presidency
Family Life
The American Franchise
Impact and Legacy
Key Events
First Lady
Angelica Van Buren
Vice President
Richard M. Johnson (1837–1841)
Secretary of State
John Forsyth (1837–1841)
Secretary of War
Joel R. Poinsett (1837–1841)
Postmaster General
Amos Kendall (1837–1840)
John M. Niles (1840–1841)
Secretary of the Treasury
Levi Woodbury (1837–1841)
Attorney General
Benjamin F. Butler (1837–1838)
Felix Grundy (1838–1839)
Henry D. Gilpin (1840–1841)
Secretary of the Navy
Mahlon Dickerson (1837–1838)
James K. Paulding (1838–1841)

Consulting Editor: Joel Silbey

Professor Silbey is the President White Professor of History, Emeritus at Cornell University. His writings include:

The American Political Nation, 1838–1893 (Stanford University Press, 1991)

Respectable Minority: the Democratic Party in the Civil War Era 1860–1868 (W. W. Norton & Co (Sd), 1977)