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Martin Van Buren: The American Presidents Series: The 8th President, 1837-1841

Martin Van Buren: The American Presidents Series: The 8th President, 1837-1841

(Book #8 in the American Presidents series)


Book Overview: Martin Van Buren: The American Presidents Series: The 8th President, 1837-1841

The first professional politician to become president, the slick and dandyish Martin Van Buren was to all appearances the opposite of his predecessor, the rugged general and Democratic champion Andrew Jackson. Van Buren, a native Dutch speaker, was America's first ethnic president as well as the first New Yorker to hold the office, at a time when Manhattan was bursting with new arrivals. A sharp and adroit political operator, he established himself as a powerhouse in New York, becoming a U.S. senator, secretary of state, and vice president under Jackson, whose election he managed. His ascendancy to the Oval Office was virtually a foregone conclusion.

Once he had the reins of power, however, Van Buren found the road quite a bit rougher. His attempts to find a middle ground on the most pressing issues of his day-such as the growing regional conflict over slavery-eroded his effectiveness. But it was his inability to prevent the great banking panic of 1837, and the ensuing depression, that all but ensured his fall from grace and made him the third president to be denied a second term. His many years of outfoxing his opponents finally caught up with him.

Ted Widmer, a veteran of the Clinton White House, vividly brings to life the chaos and contention that plagued Van Buren's presidency-and ultimately offered an early lesson in the power of democracy.

The first president born after America's independence ushers in a new era of no-holds-barred democracy

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Ted Widmer is a distinguished academic, historian, and author with a brilliant mind and a diverse portfolio of accomplishments. Working as a Professor of History at Macaulay Honors College of the City University of New York, he eagerly shares a wealth of knowledge with his students daily. Before his current appointment, Widmer served as a Harvard University lecturer and a Foreign Policy advisor during the Clinton administration, showcasing his ability to merge theory with real-life practicality. Widmer's writing prowess is evident in his multitude of works. Having penned numerous books and articles on American History, he has solidified his reputation as an authoritative voice in historical scholarship. His book "Lincoln On the Verge: Thirteen Days to Washington," underscores his exceptional gift in storytelling and keen attention to historical detail. In addition to his academic contributions, Ted Widmer has proven his commitment to service and democracy. His previous roles include being Director of the C.V. Starr Center for Study of the American Experience and serving on the Presidential Historical Record Preservation Commission. These roles have helped to preserve historical records and foster awareness about our past, giving lives to stories that have shaped the society we live in today.

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