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Martin Van Buren 2008
Image of Presidential $1 coin shows Martin Van Buren, his name, and the dates he held office: 1837 to 1841.

Martin Van Buren was the first president who was born an America citizen, the first from the state of New York, and the first whose parents were Dutch rather than British.  His interest in politics began at his father’s tavern in Kinderhook, New York, where politicians like Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr would stop as they traveled.

He served in the United States Senate and was governor of New York before he became Andrew Jackson’s secretary of state.  He served as vice president during Jackson’s second term and was easily elected president in 1837.

Rather than allowing federal funds to be held in a national bank or even in state banks, Van Buren insisted on creating a federal treasury system for that purpose.  He also headed off disagreements with Great Britain, keeping the country out of war.  But an economic depression had taken hold soon after he entered office and it lasted for most of his term.  He lost the election to a second term in 1841.


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