Happy Presidents' Day, everyone.
Martin van Buren was an agile politician. He was one of the founders of the Democratic Party. He was Secretary of State under Andrew Jackson, and then served as Jackson's Vice President. When Jackson left office, Van Buren won the 1836 election, but his term was damaged by the Panic of 1837. Van Buren was opposed to Texas joining the Union because of slavery. He lost the 1840 election to William Henry Harrison, a Whig. In 1844, Van Buren ran for president as the nominee of the Free Soil party, an abolitionist organization. He favored abolition for the rest of his life.
Martin Van Buren was portrayed by Nigel Hawthorne in Steven Spielberg's Amistad.