Tuesday, Mar. 10, 2009

Martin Van Buren

Eighth President, 1837-41

Making himself nearly disappear completely from the history books was probably not the trick the "Little Magician" Martin Van Buren had in mind, but his was the first truly forgettable American presidency.

Van Buren was largely done in by an economic crisis brought on by banks offering easy credit while benefiting from little or no central regulation. (Sound familiar?) The President's extravagant lifestyle made him an easy scapegoat for political opponents, and the crisis overshadowed his deft handling of early sectional tensions. He was soundly defeated by William Henry Harrison in 1841.

By Dan Fletcher