Martin Van Buren - Election of 1836

Election of 1836

It took Van Buren and his partisan friends a decade and a half to form the Democratic Party; many elements, such as the national convention, were borrowed from other parties.

In the election of 1832, the Jackson-Van Buren ticket won by a landslide (heavily due to the fact that Andrew Jackson was a popular war hero). When the election of 1836 came up, Jackson was determined to make Van Buren, his personal choice, President to continue his legacy. Martin Van Buren's only competitors in the 1836 election were the Whigs, who ran several regional candidates in hopes of sending the election to the House of Representatives, where each state delegation would have one vote. William Henry Harrison hoped to receive the support of the Western voters, Daniel Webster had strength in New England, and Hugh Lawson White had support in the South. Van Buren was unanimously nominated by the 1835 Democratic National Convention at Baltimore. He expressed himself plainly on the questions of slavery and the bank at the same time voting, perhaps with a touch of bravado, for a bill offered in 1836 to subject abolition literature in the mails to the laws of the several states. Van Buren's presidential victory represented a broader victory for Jackson and the party. Van Buren entered the White House as a fifty-four year old widower with four sons. Martin Van Buren was the first real American politician and was also the first to use grassroots campaigning in his presidential campaign. He wanted to make a political party that united the plain republicans of the north and the planters of the south.

Twentieth Century etymologist Alan Walker Read has published research asserting the wide usage of the phrase "O.K." (okay) started during the presidential campaign and subsequent presidency of Martin Van Buren. The phrase, which had previously been limited to regional usage with various possible references, was co-opted and popularized to mean "Old Kinderhook", a reference to Van Buren based on the name of his home village in New York.

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