Martin Van Buren
Cause of Death Age Burial Location Vice President Grave #
Asthmatic suffocation 79 Kinderhook, New York 2nd visited

President Van Buren and his wife
Hannah are buried in Kinderhook
Cemetery, only a few miles from

Lindenwald, the Van Buren

Van Buren was not one of
merica's more memorable
presidents. Fittingly enough, no
one else was in the cemetery
that day.

                                        *** Interesting Facts ***

* The first president to be born a U.S. citizen, Martin Van Buren came into this world on December 5, 1782 in the small village of Kinderhook, New York. A descendent of immigrants from the Netherlands, Van Buren's primary language was Dutch, not English. His mother made sure "that he got as much education as possible", though Van Buren himself was not pleased with his schooling (at the village academy, he was taught only the basics of reading, writing, and Latin). Despite this, he made the most of his education, rising up the political ladder until he made it to the presidency in 1837.

* Van Buren had a very impressive political résumé. Van Buren was New York's attorney general from 1815 to 1819, in addition to being the chairman of the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary. He had served as a U.S. senator for almost eight years, and had briefly been the governor of New York before becoming Andrew Jackson's secretary of state, which helped him become vice president four years later. Van Buren took the place of John C. Calhoun, who resigned his position to join the Senate. Then, of course, he succeeded Andrew Jackson as president just a few years later.

* Though the crisis was not his fault, President Van Buren was blamed for the Panic of 1837, which devastated the United States' economy. It turned out that Andrew Jackson, in destroying the Second Bank of the United States, also caused the weakening of America's economy. While he was president, Jackson had federal funds taken from the Second Bank of the United States and transferred to state banks, who then made "many unwise loans," which caused large scale inflation. Jackson also issued the Specie Circular, which forbade the purchase of government land with paper money. This was meant to bring inflation back down. However, there was now too much of a demand for specie (coins made of gold and silver), and the banks did not have enough to supply people with. Jackson's administration escaped unscathed, but it all hit the fan when Van Buren took office. Several banks in New York halted exchanging paper currency for specie, which made it more difficult to get loans. Because they had no loans and bad credit, people stopped purchasing land, and the price for land plummeted. As a result, almost 1,000 banks failed around the United States. In the end, despite the fact that he did not start the disaster, it ended up costing Van Buren the election of 1840.

* Although he did not originate it, Martin Van Buren popularized the term "O.K.". In the late 1830s, a strange wordplay craze swept the nation. For fun, people would use initials of words to create acronyms. In many cases, the words that were used were purposely misspelled. For instance, "Oll Wright", derived from "all right", was "O.W.". A similar term was "Oll Korrect", or "O.K.". In 1840, "O.K." became a campaign slogan for President Van Buren, who was frequently called "Old Kinderhook" because of his hometown of Kinderhook, New York. The use of the term "O.K." was spread by the president's political supporters, who held O.K. galas and attached the acronym to other events and clubs. Though many felt that Van Buren was "O.K.", most Americans voted for William Harrison that November. So, it turns out that one of the most widely-used expressions of all-time owes its popularity to the failed campaign of one of the United States' most forgotten presidents.

Second Lady: None

      - Spouse: Hannah Hoes Van Buren (m. 1807-1819)

Political Party: Democratic Party

                        Free Soil Party

Served Under: Andrew Jackson (1833-1837)

Last Words: "There is but one reliance."

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