In January of 1832, during a dinner at the White House, an aide told President Jackson that the Senate had rejected the nomination of Martin Van Buren as Minister to England. According to those present, Jackson exclaimed, “By the Eternal! I’ll smash them!” He made good on his word, by making sure that Van Buren became his Vice-President, and succeeded to the Presidency when Jackson retired.
Van Buren, who was of Dutch descent, was born in 1782, in New York. In 1821, he was elected to the United States Senate. Serving as Secretary of State under Andrew Jackson, Van Buren became one of Jackson’s closest advisers, and in fact Jackson called him “a true man with no guile.”
In 1836, Van Buren was elected President, however his administration was quickly faced with an economic crisis. A panic began and hundreds of banks and businesses failed. For the next five years, the United States suffered the worse depression in its history at that time. Van Buren’s programs only worsened the depression.
When up for reelection in 1840, Van Buren was defeated by Army hero William Henry Harrison. Van Buren ran again in 1848 on the Free Soil ticket, but was unsuccessful in his attempt to regain the presidency.