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Van Buren was not simply a career politician, however.He was able to transform the political scene away from the mushy (and often fractious) centrism that characterized the mislabeled Era of Good Feeling, and towards the reemergence of ideological polarization.He was also a strong opponent of nationalizing state militias and was encouraged by the trend towards voluntary rather than compulsory service.
Van Buren, contrary to popular misconception, was not at the mercy of a financial meltdown due to a lack of "modern presidential tools." His diagnoses of the situation resembled that of William Leggett and the Locofocos.
In sum, it was due to the 2nd BUS' inflationary policies that caused over-speculation and turned boom into bust.
Early on, Calhoun and his supporters had attacked him as an abolitionist (a smear used against any threat to the institution). In the case, the Supreme Court had freed the captured Africans aboard a Spanish ship that they had grounded and successfully mutinied on.
Van Buren, while personally anti-slavery but always wanting to keep political alliances, denied this and stated explicitly he would go along with the "gag rules" active in Congress and not attempt to abolish slavery in D. This undertook a dramatic turn in the 1841 case of Armistead v. Van Buren, before the case was decided, was very willing to give up the slaves back if it meant continued peace with Spain. However, it is important to keep in mind that Van Buren was not a James Buchanan in the way that he dealt with the Southern section of his party.
And while there is much to critique about their first candidate Andrew Jackson, Van Buren's presidency would be altogether different from the tempestuous and nationalistic general.
While he was short and rapidly balding/graying, he was one of our most level-headed and respectful occupiers of the White House.
The first, and most laudatory, was his peaceful foreign policy. He was also successful in preventing two wars with Mexico and the U. by maintaining a neutral stance that promoted free trade over mercantilist conflict.
He also opposed the annexation of Texas for fear it would divide the party over the slavery question (and boy was he right about that! This was a trait seen during the Jackson administration, when he successfully negotiated a trade settlement with the British West Indies, and prevented a war with France over Jackson's hot temper.
Van Buren was deflated by his defeat to the Whig general William Henry Harrison, who used "log and hard cider" populist tactics and fake news to win the Presidency (although his early death allowed the Jeffersonian John Tyler to continue many of the same policies as his predecessor).
While he would have a run in 1848 for the anti-slavery free soil party, his vindication for his peaceful and pragmatic policies would never come.