Martin Van Buren (December 5, 1782 - July 24, 1862) was the eighth President of the United States (1837-1841). Before his presidency, he was the eighth Vice President (1833-1837) and the tenth Secretary of State (1829-1831), both under Andrew Jackson. He
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Martin Van Buren (December 5, 1782 - July 24, 1862) was the eighth President of the United States (1837-1841). Before his presidency, he was the eighth Vice President (1833-1837) and the tenth Secretary of State (1829-1831), both under Andrew Jackson. He was a key organizer of the Democratic Party, a dominant figure in the Second Party System, and the first president not of British or Irish descent, his family was Dutch. He was the first president to have been born a United States citizen, and the first for New York. He is the only president not to have spoken English as his first language, having grown up speaking Dutch. As Secretary of State and then Vice President, he was a key figure in building the organizational structure for Jacksonian democracy. His administration was largely characterized by the economic hardship of his time, the Panic of 1837. He was scapegoated for the depression and called "Martin Van Ruin" by his political opponents. He was voted out of office after four years, losing to Whig candidate William Henry Harrison. In the 1848 election Van Buren ran unsuccessfully for president on a third-party ticket, the Free Soil Party. After being bedridden with a case of pneumonia during the fall of 1861, he died of bronchial asthma and heart failure in 1862, at the age of 79.