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

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 2 Critic Reviews

unrated

Synopsis

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

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.

 

About Ted Widmer

See more books from this Author
Forward by Caroline Kennedy, editor of the New York Times bestselling Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy, She Walks in Beauty, A Patriot's Handbook, Profiles in Courage for Our Time, The Best-Loved Poems of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, A Family of Poems, and A Family Christmas and the coauthor of The Right to Privacy and In Our Defense: The Bill of Rights in Action. She serves as president of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation and lives in New York City. Annotation by Ted Widmer, Director and Librarian of the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University. He is the author or editor of many works of American history, and a frequent contributor to The New York Times, Washington Post, International Herald Tribune, and other publications. He was a speechwriter and senior adviser to President Clinton, and conducted the oral history project that accompanied President Clinton's preparation for his memoir, My Life. He was educated at Harvard University.
 
Published January 5, 2005 by Times Books. 189 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Martin Van Buren

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

(Too quietly, it appears: In 1839, he issued an executive order demanding the return of rebellious slaves to their Spanish owners, an act making him a villain in Steven Spielberg’s film Amistad.) As a result, both northern abolitionists and southern slaveholders came to mistrust Van Buren, who, W...

| Read Full Review of Martin Van Buren: The America...

Reader Rating for Martin Van Buren
65%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 44 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


Rate this book!

Add Review
×