Van Buren, Martin (West's Encyclopedia of American Law)
Prominent political leader, U.S. senator, SECRETARY OF STATE, vice president, and eighth president of the United States, Martin Van Buren led the nation during its first major economic crisis. The New York native built a career based on machine politicshe control of local political power by a well-disciplined organization. Van Buren held top positions in his home state before entering national politics, where his instinct for party building helped create the DEMOCRATIC PARTY in the 1820s. Elected vice president in 1832 and president in 1836, he sought to protect federal monetary reserves during the depression that began shortly after he took office.
Born in Kinderhook, New York, on December 5, 1782, Van Buren was the third of five children born to Dutch working-class parents. He began to study law at the early age of fourteen and gained admission to the New York bar four years later in 1803. He was elected to the New York legislature in 1812 and continued to be reelected until 1820. From 1816 until 1819, he also served as the state attorney general.
Van Buren's political views came directly from Jeffersonian Republicanism. Like THOMAS JEFFERSON, he believed in STATES' RIGHTS and
(The entire section is 660 words.)
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