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Fast Fact Martin Van Buren was the first Chief Executive born under the United States flag Biography Only about 5 feet 6 inches tall but trim and erect Martin Van Buren dressed fastidiously His impeccable appearance belied his amiability--and his humble background Of Dutch descent he was born in 1782 the son of a tavernkeeper and farmer in Kinderhook New York As a young lawyer he became involved in New York politics As leader of the Albany Regency an effective New York political organization he shrewdly dispensed public offices and bounty in a fashion calculated to bring votes Yet he faithfully fulfilled official duties and in 1821 was elected to the United States Senate By 1827 he had emerged as the principal northern leader for Andrew Jackson President Jackson rewarded Van Buren by appointing him Secretary of State As the Cabinet Members appointed at John C Calhouns recommendation began to demonstrate only secondary loyalty to Jackson Van Buren emerged as the Presidents most trusted adviser Jackson referred to him as a true man with no guile The rift in the Cabinet became serious because of Jacksons differences with Calhoun a Presidential aspirant Van Buren suggested a way out of an eventual impasse he and Secretary of War Eaton resigned so that Calhoun men would also resign Jackson appointed a new Cabinet and sought again to reward Van Buren by appointing him Minister to Great Britain Vice President Calhoun as President of the Senate cast the deciding vote against the appointment--and made a martyr of Van Buren The Little Magician was elected Vice President on the Jacksonian ticket in 1832 and won the Presidency in 1836 Van Buren devoted his Inaugural Address to a discourse upon the American experiment as an example to the rest of the world The country was prosperous but less than three months later the panic of 1837 punctured the prosperity Basically the trouble was the
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