Best Books About Martin Van Buren
Note: This page is still under construction. All links underlined in blue work as stated. Links in Black link to Amazon page with titles to multiple books on this President
Based upon extensive use of the Van Buren papers and other basic primary sources of the period, this is a readable, authoitative biography of the 8th President of the United States and a close political ally of Andrew Jackson, and later upholder of the Jacksonian tradition.
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.
Donald Cole analyzes the political skills that brought Van Buren the nickname Little Magician,” describing how he built the Albany Regency (which became a model for political party machines) and how he created the Democratic party of Andrew Jackson.
Martin Van Buren was a one-term president whose public life has long been overshadowed by the more fiery personalities of his day—Andrew Jackson, Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, and John C. Calhoun. Nevertheless, Van Buren was a transforming political figure in American history, one of the first of the new republic’s professional politicians.
In 1828, Martin Van Buren discontinued his profession as a lawyer to become a full-time politician, yet his formative years as an attorney provided the critical ideological basis for his presidency. Mushkat and Rayback offer the first historical investigation of the nature, scope, and significance of Van Buren’s legal practice as they trace the development of his republican ideology.
The American Talleyrand; the Career and Contemporaries of Martin Van Buren, Eighth President by Holmes Moss Alexander
Martin Van Buren, the eight president of the United States, wrote this autobiography years after his time in American politics had come to an end. He was living in Europe and decided that it was time to defend his record as head of the political operation in New York and as Andrew Jackson’s second Vice-President after John C. Calhoun.
The Idea of a Party System; the Rise of Legitimate Opposition in the United States, 1780-1840 by Richard Hofstadter
This work traces the historical processes in thought by which American political leaders slowly edged away from their complete philosophical rejection of a party and hesitantly began to embrace a party system. In the author’s words, “The emergence of legitimate party opposition and of a theory of politics that accepted it was something new in the history of the world; it required a bold new act of understanding on the part of its contemporaries and it still requires study on our part.” Professor Hofstadter’s analysis of the idea of party and the development of legitimate opposition offers fresh insights into the political crisis of 1797-1801, on the thought of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, Martin Van Buren, and other leading figures, and on the beginnings of modern democratic politics.