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State by President Jackson, but resigned
in April, I83I, and during the recess of
Congress was appointed minister to England,
whither he proceeded in September,
but the Senate, when convened in December,
refused to ratify the appointment.
In Mlay, 1832, Mr. Van Buren was nominated
as the Democratic candidate for VicePresident,
and elected in the following
November. May 26, 1836, he received the
nomination to succeed General Jackson as
President, and received 170 electoral votes,
out of 283.
Scarcely had he taken his seat in the
Presidential chair when a financial panic
swept over the land. Many attributed
this to the war which General Jackson had
waged on the banks, and to his endeavor to
secure an almost exclusive specie currency.
Nearly every bank in the country was compelled
to suspend specie payment, and ruin
pervaded all our great cities. Not less than
254 houses failed in New York in one week.
All public works were brought to a stand,
and there was a general state of dismay.
President Van Buren urged the adoption of
the independent treasury system, which
was twice passed in the Senate and defeated
in the House, but finally became a law near
the close of his administration.
Another important measure was the passage
of a pre-emption law, giving actual settlers
the preference in the purchase of
public lands. The question of slavery, also,
now began to assume great prominence in
national politics, and after an elaborate
anti-slavery speech by Mr. Slade, of Vermont,
in the House of Representatives, the
Southern members withdrew for a separate
consultation, at which Mr. Rhett, of South
Carolina, proposed to declare it expedient
that the Union should be dissolved; but
the matter was tided over by the passage
of a resolution that no petitions or papers
relating to slavery should be in any way
considered or acted upon.
In the Presidential election of 1840 Mr.
Van Buren was nominated, without opposition,
as the Democratic candidate, William
H. Harrison being the candidate of the
Whig party. The Democrats carried only
seven States, and out of 294 electoral votes
only sixty were for Mr. Van Buren, the remaining
234 being for his opponent. The
Whig popular majority, however, was not
large, the elections in many of the States
being very close.
March 4, I84I, Mr. Van Buren retired
from the Presidency. From his fine estate
at Lindenwald he still exerted a powerful
influence upon the politics of the country.
In I844 he was again proposed as the
Democratic candidate for the Presidency,
and a majority of the delegates of the
nominating convention were in his favor;
but, owing to his opposition to the proposed
annexation of Texas, he cduld not
secure the requisite two-thirds vote. His
name was at length withdrawn by his
friends, and Mr. Polk received the nomination,
and was elected.
In 1848 Mr. Cass was the regular Democratic
candidate. A schism, however,
sprang up in the party, upon the question
of the permission of slavery in the newly.
acquired territory, and a portion of the
party, taking the name of "Free-Soilers,"
nominated Mr. Van Buren. They drew
away sufficient votes to secure the election
of General Taylor, the Whig candidate.
After this Mr. Van Buren retired to his estate
at Kinderhook, where the remainder
of his life was passed, with the exception of
a European tour in I853. He died at
Kinderhook, July 24, 1862, at the age of
Martin Van Buren was a great and good
man, and no one will question his right to
a high position among those who have
been the successors of Washington in the
faithful occupancy of the Presidential
Lewis Publishing Company. Memorial and Biographical History of Dallas County, Texas.. Chicago, Illinois. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth20932/. Accessed July 6, 2015.