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25 Great Martin Van Buren Quotes


Martin Van Buren was the eighth President of The United States. Van Buren was born on December 5, 1782 in Kinderhook, New York to Abraham Van Buren, a tavern keeper and farmer of Dutch descent, and Maria Hoes van Alen van Buren. Van Buren's early education began in a small school house in his village and Kinderhook Academy and Washington Seminary in Claverack. Van Buren excelled briefly in Latin and went on to devour composition and speaking. At the age of 14, Van Buren began studying law under a prominent Kinderhook attorney and Federalist, Francis Sylvester. Van Buren culminated his apprenticeship in New York City under the direction of William P. Van Ness, political lieutenant of Aaron Burr. In 1803, Van Buren was admitted into the bar and quickly entered New York politics as the leader of the Albany Regency.

In 1807, Van Buren wed Hannah Hoes, a distant relation and childhood sweetheart, in Catskill, New York. The couple had 6 children: Abraham, Martin Jr, Winfield Scott, Smith Thompson, and a still born daughter. Van Buren's responsibilities within the Albany Regency quickly secured his political aspirations and earned him respect as a shrewd, effective political official despite his personal losses. On February 5, 1819, Van Buren's wife, Hannah, fell ill with tuberculosis and passed away at the age of 35. Van Buren never remarried following Hannah's passing.

In 1821, Van Buren was elected to the U.S. Senate and just 6 years later was appointed Secretary of State for his abilities as principle leader for Andrew Jackson, his support of Democracy, the development of political parties, and as one of the founders for the organizational structure for Jacksonian policies. Van Buren was esteemed as Jackson's most trusted adviser during Jackson's presidency and often was praised by Jackson as "a true man with no guile." Due to a political falling out between President Andrew Jackson and his vice president, John C. Calhoun, all members of Jackson's cabinet resigned upon Van Buren's recommendation. Jackson then appointed a new cabinet and rewarded Van Buren with a position as minister to Great Britain but Calhoun cast the deciding vote against the appointment and Van Buren was left a martyr. Despite the struggle, Van Buren's political career expanded and in 1832, he was elected Vice President under President Jackson. Van Buren went on to become President on March 4, 1837.

Van Buren's presidency was overshadowed by political disunity, financial difficulties, inflation, and economic troubles stemming from Jackson's presidency. Van Buren served as President during an 1837 panic when hundreds of banks and businesses failed, many citizens lost their land, and the worst depression in U.S. history began. Van Buren emerged as a leader but made multiple attempts to alleviate the financial crisis using Jackson's established deflationary policies. Van Buren opposed reckless business practices and the over-extension of credit as well as the founding of a new Bank of The United States. Van Buren instilled his beliefs in an independent treasury system for governmental funds and drastically reduced budget expenditures. Van Buren opposed the annexation of Texas as means of preventing war with Mexico and limit the expansion of slavery. Van Buren also created the bond system to manage national debt, devised diplomatic solutions for financial disputes between the U.S. and Mexico, and oversaw the removal of Native American Tribes known as the "Trail of Tears" from lands in Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, and South Carolina to the Oklahoma Territory. Van Buren also maintained the Second Seminole War despite its unpopularity and remained neutral during the 1839 "extermination" of 20,000 Mormons within Independence, Missouri.

Political opposition from the Whig Party, who dubbed the President "Martin Van Ruin" and tension among Democrats caused turmoil 1837 and 1838 elections. In 1840, Van Buren was defeated for re-election by William Henry Harrison. Following his term, Van Buren retired to Lindenwald, his estate in Kinderhook, and was consumed with plans to return to the White House. In 1844, Van Buren was nearly nominated during the Democratic conventions but lost the bid to James K. Polk. In 1848, Van Buren was nominated by the "Barnburner" Democratic party and the "Free Soilers" Democratic party but again lost due to lack of electoral votes. Following his defeats, Van Buren returned to Lindenwald and fell ill with pneumonia in 1861. On July 24, 1862, Van Buren passed away due to bronchial asthma and heart failure at the age of 79. Van Buren's final resting place is the Kinderhook Cemetery with his wife, his parents, and his children. Van Buren's presidency was challenging but his legacy remains as a key political figure and as one of two politicians to serve as Secretary of State, Vice President, and President like forefather Thomas Jefferson. Here are the 25 Best Martin Van Buren Quotes:

1. "As to the presidency, the two happiest days of my life were those of my entrance upon the office and my surrender of it."

2. "Banks properly established and conducted are highly useful to the business of the country, and will doubtless continue to exist in the States so long as they conform to their laws and are found to be safe and beneficial."

3. "Between Russia and the United States sentiments of good will continue to be mutually cherished."

4. "Every proper exertion has been made and will be continued to carry out the wishes of Congress in relation to the tobacco trade, as indicated in the several resolutions of the House of Representatives and the legislation of the two branches."

5. "For myself, therefore, I desire to declare that the principle that will govern me in the high duty to which my country calls me is a strict adherence to the letter and spirit of the Constitution as it was designed by those who framed it."

6. "I tread in the footsteps of illustrious men...in receiving from the people the sacred trust confided by my illustrious predecessor."

7. "If laws acting upon private interests can not always be avoided, they should be confined within the narrowest limits, and left wherever possible to the legislatures of the States."

8. "In a government whose distinguishing characteristic should be a diffusion and equalization of its benefits and burdens the advantage of individuals will be augmented at the expense of the community at large."

9. "It affords me sincere pleasure to be able to apprise you of the entire removal of the Cherokee Nation of Indians to their new homes west of the Mississippi."

10. "It seems proper, at all events, that by an early enactment similar to that of other countries the application of public money by an officer of Government to private uses should be made a felony and visited with severe and ignominious punishment."

11. "Mutual forbearance and reciprocal concessions: thro' their agency the Union was established - the patriotic spirit from which they emanated will forever sustain it."

12. "My conviction of the necessity of further legislative provisions for the safe-keeping and disbursement of the public moneys and my opinion in regard to the measures best adapted to the accomplishment of those objects have been already submitted to you."

13. "On receiving from the people the sacred trust twice confided on my illustrious predecessor, and which he has discharged so faithfully and so well, I know that I cannot expect to perform the arduous task with equal ability and success."

14. "Our country presents on every side the evidence of that continued favor under whose auspices it, has gradually risen from a few feeble and dependent colonies to a prosperous and powerful confederacy."

15. "The case of the Seminoles constitutes at present the only exception to the
successful efforts of the Government to remove the Indians to the homes assigned them west of the Mississippi."

16. "The condition of tribes which occupy the country set apart for them in the West is highly prosperous, and encourages the hope of their early civilization. They have for the most part abandoned the hunter state and turned their attention to agricultural pursuits."

17. "The connection which formerly existed between the Government and banks was in reality injurious to both, as well as to the general interests of the community at large."

18. "The government should not be guided by Temporary Excitement, but by Sober Second Thought."

19. "The law increasing and organizing the military establishment of the United States has been nearly carried into effect, and the Army has been extensively and usefully employed during the past season."

20. "The less government interferes with private pursuits, the better for general prosperity."

21. "The national will is the supreme law of the Republic, and on all subjects within the limits of his constitutional powers should be faithfully obeyed by the public servant."

22. "The people under our system, like the king in a monarchy, never dies."

23. "The United States have fulfilled in good faith all their treaty stipulations with the Indian tribes, and have in every other instance insisted upon a like performance of their obligations."

24. "There is a power in public opinion in this country - and I thank God for it: for it is the most honest and best of all powers - which will not tolerate an incompetent or unworthy man to hold in his weak or wicked hands the lives and fortunes of his fellow-citizens."

24. "Those who have wrought great changes in the world never succeeded by gaining over chiefs; but always by exciting the multitude. The first is the resource of intrigue and produces only secondary results, the second is the resort of genius and transforms the universe."

25. "No evil can result from its inhibition more pernicious than its toleration."

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