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Mr. President

Martin Van Buren
Eighth President, 1837–1841

“All communities
are apt to look to government for too much.”

Child Prodigy:
Like most other young people 150 years ago, Martin Van Buren started his career much earlier than is common now. He became a law student when he was 14 years old and won his first case when he was 16. Other presidents who began their careers early included John Quincy Adams, who worked as private secretary to the U.S. minister to Russia at 14, and Thomas Jefferson, who inherited his family's land at 14. Van Buren was nicknamed “the Magician” for his behind-the-scenes political savvy, but his presidency was marked by the nation’s first economic depression, the Panic of 1837.

Portrait by Mathew Brady , circa 1856 . NPG.76.104 , Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery .

Fast Facts
Party: Democrat
Date of Birth: Thursday, December 5, 1782
Date of Death: Thursday, July 24, 1862
Vice President: Richard M. Johnson
First Lady: widower

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