Talk:Martin Van Buren

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Van Capitalization[edit]

This article should be titled Martin van Buren. "Van Buren" is correct when the forename is omitted.

  • This would be correct from a European or Dutch perspective, but Americans happen to have an odd habit of capitalizing this part of a name.--Pharos 01:13, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  • It appears Van Buren himself capitalized the "V"; if you do a search on "Martin Van Buren Signature" a few items signed by him will come up, showing an Upper Case "V". Sometimes we have to be careful in applying current linguistic "rules" to historical figures and discussions. I would keep it as he used it. Smawnmahlau 14:31, 12 May 2006 (UTC)

I agree with this. You (correctly) state the name of his father as Abraham van Buren.

  • Since gentry and aristocracy is not recognized in the United States and Martin Van Buren was born in the United States, then the Van (meaning of some distinguished family or place) should be capitalized. But the van for his father shouldn't.Patchouli 23:32, 22 June 2006 (UTC)
If Martin's father was born in the United States, then his Van needs to be capitalized, too.Patchouli 08:33, 24 June 2006 (UTC)

"There is but one reliance..."[edit]

What is that one reliance? What was van Buren referring to?

That would be speculative, and thus is probably better left out of the article. One might assume the answer would be God, but it could also be the product of a mind that lacked lucidity at the time of death. I'm related to him, by the way.

Cowboydan76 01:44, 13 February 2006 (UTC)

you are?

U.S. Senate and National Politics[edit]

To be honest, i find it hard to believe that one of the famous quotes Attributed to Van Buren in this time period is, and i quote, "Miller sucks c0ck". This phrase is in the second to last paragraph of the section. i would normally just edit it out and restore the history, but it is locked, so i am reporting it here.

I also find that hard to believe. U.S. Senators rarely speak that way on the record. ;-) This was inserted by anon ( on November 7. We all managed to miss it until now. I just now fixed it by refering to the once-prior version. Thanks for noticing and calling this out. Hult041956 00:14, 16 November 2007 (UTC)

Trail of Tears[edit]

Wouldn't it be a good idea to mention the Trail of Tears in the "presidency" section? I'm not at all familiar with the subject (i.e. President Van Buren) so I'm really just asking — Hillel 08:41, 28 March 2006 (UTC)


I can't seem to find my original research on Old Kinderhook, but apparently popular songs at the time were written about Van Buren's corruption.

Popular songs and poetry at the time was written about everything, true or not. With a less literate culture and fewer newspapers (copies were passed around because they were dear), there was a premium on communicating through memorable, easily repeatable ditties. Don't tell Madison Avenue.

But if you can track down pictures of some old broadsheets, those might be good illustrations for the article. Sam 13:47, 27 May 2006 (UTC) (please sign your posts with four "tildes" (~).

Primary Language Not English?[edit]

"...and the only whose first language was not English." What was his first language then? --NormalAsylum (talk)

  • Dutch, of course.--Pharos 2 July 2005 18:49 (UTC)

Is there a source for this? I find it hard to beleive that the Dutch language was passed down all the way from his ggg-grandfather. 17:58, 10 February 2006 (UTC)
Dutch was the street language in the village where he grew up in 1780s and was the main local language until after 1800. During his stay in Kinderhook, novelist Washington Irving wrote Rip Van Winkle and gathered stories for the Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Ichabod Crane was patterned after the local teacher. see [1] But there were also Yankees in town and Van Buren's father was a tavern keeper who served them. So the boy was most likely bilingual from an early age; his schooling was all English. No biographer mentions any Dutch accent. Rjensen 19:36, 10 February 2006 (UTC)
I've changed this to indicate that he spoke Dutch at home as a boy; from my knowledge of the area's history, it is very likely that he was, at most, fully bi-lingual from an early age, and so had no true "first" language, but perhaps just as likely that Dutch was a bit of a relic more used by older generations. By the time he was being raised, the Dutch language was in rapid decline in the area. Indeed, the migrations and dislocations that occurred during and after the Revolution had probably accelerated the decline significantly. But I'd be interested if there is a better source, since I'm basing this on my knowledge of the region, not on specific knowledge of the Van Buren family. Smawnmahlau 14:31, 12 May 2006 (UTC)
  • Are you joking about English being his second language? Obviously there is no evidence for this since he was no Vladimir Nabokov who wrote books with literary value in English and Russian.

Did Van Buren ever produce any literary works in Dutch? Even if he knew perhaps 4,000 words in Dutch and could carry on a basic conversation, it doesn't mean Dutch was his first language.Patchouli 11:38, 22 June 2006 (UTC)

Van Buren spoke Dutch at a child--hence first language. But he attended an English grammar school, which he quit at age 14 to work in a lawyer's office (where English was spoken), so he never wrote anything in Dutch. Rjensen 02:46, 23 June 2006 (UTC)
This web site asserts without citation that Van Buren and his wife spoke Dutch at home. studerby 16:06, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
Little late, but that same site mentions he is the only president from Dutch decent, which afcourse is a false statment as both the Roosevelts are from Dutch decent
Dutch was the primary language of the Hudson Valley for all the 18th century and was still widely spoken as a secondary language well into the 19th century and until some time in the 20th century it was the language spoken in the Dutch Reformed Churches (Albany, New York still has at least 3 or 4 Dutch Reformed Churches and it has a pop. less than 100,000 people). These are the facts and they support Van Buren speaking Dutch from the beginning (which he did). I understand alot of people coming across this are from other parts of the country and arent familiar with the Hudson Valley's distinct Dutch culture, but I encourage them to listen to those who are native to the area and see Dutch culture (the Tulip Festival, Pinkster Festivals), and use Dutch words every day (bush instead of woods, kill instead of creek) and live in towns named by our Dutch ancestors (Watervliet (fast water), Colonie (colony), Catskill)Camelbinky (talk) 23:46, 5 December 2008 (UTC)

A recent NPR story mentioned Dutch was his first language and that he was fully fluent in both Dutch and English. Also, when in politics he occassionally was noted to revert to swearing in Dutch when very angry. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:29, 31 January 2012 (UTC)

internet meme[edit]

Van buren seems to come up a lot

care to elaborate on this? Philmcl 02:49, 5 December 2006 (UTC)
I don't know this meme specifically but several possibilities are: "Van Buren" was the working title of the game Fallout 3 while it was being developed by Interplay (before Bethesda started working on it). Possibly confused with "Von Braun" which was used as the name for spaceships in several sci-fi novels as well as the game System Shock 2, named after the scientist Wernher von Braun. Mloren (talk) 01:27, 30 June 2011 (UTC)

This article needs a cleanup[edit]

It is messy and could use some help


Is Van Buren the first President of whom we have a photo? -- 12:38, 27 December 2006 (UTC)

I think someone should change the photo of Van Buren...

there are more photos of Van Buren and other presidents if you look around —Preceding unsigned comment added by Viperman123 (talkcontribs) 21:30, 29 May 2008 (UTC)

Where are the photos you have in mind? (talk) 21:10, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

Is he Jewish?[edit]

Do I correctly understand that Van Buren was Jewish or at least had some Jewish blood relatives?

For your kind information, Van Buren wasn't even distantly jewish. He was Protestant.


There is no Jewish Nationality, there is a Israeli Nationality and a Jewish fate. Most (but not all) Israeli are of the Jewish fate, and a lot of Jewish are Israeli nationals Mach10 07:20, 10 October 2007 (UTC)
This isnt the place to discuss it, BUT- there is certainly a Jewish Nationality, it is seperate from the Israeli nationality, do not confuss the two. Being Jewish is a nationality, an ethnic connotation, and can be a religion. You do not have to practice the Jewish faith to be of the Jewish nationality and ethnic group. Not all nationalities have a nation, nor do they need a nation to be a nationality. Please be careful of topics like this in article discussion pages that have nothing to do with it, as it is a touchy topic. Plus it has nothing to do with Van Buren.Camelbinky (talk) 23:50, 5 December 2008 (UTC)

I think it is more correct to say there is Jewish ethnicity which is separate from Judaism. Jewish nationalism is generally referred to as Zionism. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:30, 31 January 2012 (UTC)

Van Buren Glitched a Computer[edit]

At the US History Museaum in DC there's a computer terminal where you can vote for your favorite president. I chose van Buren as a joke; an 'error' message popped up and the terminal was thereafter unusuable. "Voting for Martin van Buren as 'Favorite President' has been known to destroy computers" should perhaps be added? --Xiaphias 12:26, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

That is the funniest thing I heard this week.Mantion 00:57, 10 October 2007 (UTC)

OK... Old Kinderhook[edit]

I saw on TV that the term OK (okay) came from the abbreviation of Old Kinderhook. Any of you Van Buren experts know if this is true or worth including in the article.Mantion 00:55, 10 October 2007 (UTC)

We have a whole article about this at Okay. It's listed as an 'improbable' etymology. DJ Clayworth (talk) 20:13, 13 March 2008 (UTC)
In the light of this I removed reference to it from the "Election of 1836" section where it seemed trivial and inappropriate. Anyone wanting information on this subject would probably be looking for it at the Okay article rather than the Van Buren one. (talk) 01:50, 11 July 2008 (UTC)

First President to be a United States Citizen[edit]

That seems unlikely. I could believe that he is the first President to have been born a United States Citizen. I'll change it unless anyone has an explanation. DJ Clayworth (talk) 20:09, 13 March 2008 (UTC)

Found a reference - and it's been changed. DJ Clayworth (talk) 13:52, 14 March 2008 (UTC)
I think the reference is in correct. Martin was born on December 5th, 1782, in what now is the State of New York. However New York did not ratify the US Constitution till 26th of June 1788. He was thus born in the Province of New York a sovereign state in Confederation, but not yet part of the Union (that is the United States). Mach10 (talk) 18:20, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
I'm not an expert here, but some fairly learned organizations seem to think he was. Here are some of the references I found Brittanica US Mint Hoover Presidential Library. Surely New York could be part of the US without ratifying the constitution. DJ Clayworth (talk) 18:44, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
Then why not use those far more trusty sources as a reference?Mach10 (talk) 19:09, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
I only went to look for them after you asked. But a good point - I'll add them. DJ Clayworth (talk) 19:12, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
Word Mach10 (talk) 19:13, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
I hate to open an old discussion, but the United States of America was created under the Articles of Confederation, not the Constitution. MVB was, without a doubt, the First American President —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:39, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

When the The United States of America came into being is a matter of definition. We FIRST declared ourselves the United States of America in 1776, when the original 13 colonies declared independence as the United States of America on July 2; The Declaration of Independence was adopted on July 4; after our victory over the British are Saratoga, the first international recognition of our independence and existence as a separate nation, came from France in 1777. The Articles of Confederation were adopted that same year, but it wasn't until the 1783 Treaty of Paris where we can say unequivocally that our existence as a separate and independent nation was unfettered. It is probably too debatable to say that Van Buren was the first President who was born a US citizen, since the independence of the US was still in question, and the definition of citizenship of the US was not even defined until done so in the US Constitution.

Van Buren was born in the country that called itself USA starting in July 1776. The US celebrates its birthday --its date of independence--as July 4, 1776, which should settle matters. Nobody has suggested a better date and 1776 was always celebrated in Van Buren's lifetime. The US was independent of Britain in fact and in recognition by 1777 --indeed after losing its army at Saratoga (1777) Britain realized that the USA would be independent...but it kept going in order to grab parts of the South for itself and failed. Rjensen (talk) 00:56, 2 October 2014 (UTC)

The Triple Crown[edit]

The US Department of State provides a list of all the Secretaries of state here. Those who also held the office of President are Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, JQ Adams, Van Buren and Buchanan. The US Senate provides a list of all the Vice Presidents here. Those who also held the office of President are Jefferson, Van Buren, Tyler, Fillmore, A Johnson, Arthur, T Roosevelt, Coolidge, Truman, Nixon, L Johnson, Ford and Bush the First. Those who are on both lists are Jefferson and Van Buren. The same information can easily be found on Wikipedia. The two lists could be cited, allowing people to compare for themselves, but this information is so public and so easy of access that a citation seems (to me, at least) unnecessary. (talk) 16:45, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

It may be obvious to you or to those who know where to look, but as this is a worldwide resource many people have no knowledge of US information or where to look for it. Would you know details if the person was a representative for say Greenland or Italy? Why not just add the reference you quote to the article so that others who do not know US details can verify the information? Keith D (talk) 17:54, 10 July 2008 (UTC)
Not a problem, as long as I don't have to cite some "authority" who SAYS Jefferson and Van Buren were the only holders of all three offices. I placed references to the most authoritative-sounding lists I could find of all the US Secretaries of State, Vice Presidents and Presidents immediately after the statement in question, so anyone can verify for himself that the statement is true. If someone thinks the information should be presented in a different way, the links are now on the page ready for use. (talk) 18:46, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

Little Magician[edit]

Why does Little Magician redirect here? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:30, 14 December 2008 (UTC)

Van Buren was referred to (typically by adversaries, I believe) as "The Little Magician." —Preceding unsigned comment added by Yx7791 (talkcontribs) 01:48, 18 March 2009 (UTC)

Photographs by Brady or Handy?[edit]

I was looking at old Presidential photographs, and I noticed that the print from the Brady/Handy collection are attribute either Brady or Handy as the author of the photo. Handy's bio says that he was apprenticed to Brady when he was twelve. Van Buren died in 1862, when Handy was less than seven years old. The date of the photo was traced to between 1860 and 1862. That would mean Brady would have been between four and seven years old. Doesn't it seem highly unlikely that Handy would have authored the photo?

BMW (talk) 02:34, 18 July 2009 (UTC)

O.K Club[edit]

Why is there no mention of the O.K Club in this article? Regardless of where the word "O.K" came from, the political club founded by Van Buren's supporters should probably get a mention. Mloren (talk) 01:23, 30 June 2011 (UTC)

Dutch: Maarten van Buren[edit]

Okay, I understand he grew up in a heavily Dutch area of New York (I am descended from people who lived in the same area), and that he may very well have spoken Dutch at home and been bilingual his whole life. But is there any reason to list the Dutch spelling of Martin? Is there any any any reason to believe that his name was ever spelled that way? Why is this on there?

Uac1530 (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 23:29, 4 March 2012 (UTC).

Political Parties[edit]

Why is Free Soil listed as his primary party in the table on the right with Democratic listed as another party? While all the parties currently listed should continue to be listed, it strikes me that Democratic should be the primary party as that is the party he helped create and the party he was a member of when he served as Vice President and President. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:19, 17 May 2012 (UTC)


I'm not sure where in the article to say it, but should we mention that Van Buren was short? That helps explain "Little Magician", the cartoon showing Jackson carrying him, and "little Van" in the Tippecanoe and Tyler Too song. 2601:8:B500:862:AC24:8E9A:5AD0:738C (talk) 17:04, 7 November 2013 (UTC)

File:Martin Van Buren by Mathew Brady c1855-58.jpg to appear as POTD[edit]

Hello! This is a note to let the editors of this article know that File:Martin Van Buren by Mathew Brady c1855-58.jpg will be appearing as picture of the day on December 5, 2013. You can view and edit the POTD blurb at Template:POTD/2013-12-05. If this article needs any attention or maintenance, it would be preferable if that could be done before its appearance on the Main Page. Thanks! — Crisco 1492 (talk) 22:48, 19 November 2013 (UTC)

Picture of the day
Martin Van Buren

Martin Van Buren (1782–1862) was the eighth President of the United States, serving from 1837 to 1841. Earlier, he was the eighth Vice President (1833–1837), and before that, the tenth Secretary of State (1829–1831), both under Andrew Jackson.

Photo: Mathew Brady
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