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President Martin Van Buren

Martin Van Buren was the eighth President of the United States (1837-1841), after serving as the eighth Vice President and the tenth Secretary of State, both under President Andrew Jackson. While the country was prosperous when the "Little Magician" was elected, less than three months later the financial panic of 1837 punctured the prosperity. A member of the Democratic Party, he served in a number of senior roles, including eighth Vice President (1833–37) and tenth Secretary of State (1829–31), both under Andrew Jackson. Van Buren's inability as president to deal with the economic chaos of the Panic of 1837 and with the surging Whig Party led to his defeat in the 1840 election.
"The less government interferes with private pursuits, the better for general prosperity."
[Martin Van Buren.]
130 Media in collectionpage 1 of 2

.00001 the value of a unit with four cyphers going before it

A satire on dissension and political intrigue within Andrew Jackson's administration, surrounding the Spring 1831 resignations of several members of his Cabinet. In the center Jackson sits in a collapsing chair... more

Troubled treasures

A crudely drawn anti-Jackson satire, applauding Henry Clay's orchestration of Congressional resistance to the President's plan to withdraw Treasury funds from the Bank of the United States. The print also attac... more

The experiment in full operation

An anti-Jackson satire, critical of the President's federal treasury policy and of Vice-President Van Buren's influence on the administration's fiscal program. The print specifically attacks Jackson's plan to d... more

"This is the house that Jack built . . ."

Caricature shows Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren, Francis Blair, William J. Duane, and others, with various animals. A crudely-drawn, anonymous satire on the Jackson Administration, alleging political intrigue... more

The grand national caravan moving east. / drawn by Hassan Straightshanks, under the immediate Superintendence of Maj. Jack Downing.

A burlesque parade, led by Andrew Jackson and satirizing various aspects of his administration. The procession moves from right to left. At its head is Jackson, seated on a horse with Martin Van Buren cross-le... more

The political barbecue

Andrew Jackson is roasted over the fires of "Public Opinion" by the figure of Justice in a cartoon relating to the controversy surrounding Jackson's removal of federal deposits from the Bank of the United State... more

"The government." No. 1, [Eye] take the responsibility

A satire on Andrew Jackson's "Kitchen Cabinet," the pejorative name given his informal circle of close advisors. The print appeared during the heated controversy incited by Jackson's discontinuation of federal ... more

Democratic ticket. Going the whole hog

An illustrated election ticket for Martin Van Buren and Richard M. Johnson, listing Ohio Democratic electors for the presidential race of 1836. The ticket is illustrated with a small vignette of a man carrying ... more

All fours-important state of the game-the knave about to be lost

The presidential campaign of 1836 viewed as a card game by a satirist in sympathy with the Whigs. Opposing candidates Martin Van Buren (Democrat) and William Henry Harrison (Whig) face each other across a card... more

Grand match between the Kinderhook poney and the Ohio ploughman

A satire on the presidential contest of 1836, using the metaphor of a billiards game between Whig candidate William Henry Harrison (left) and Democrat Martin Van Buren. The artist is clearly on the side of Harr... more

Set-to between the champion old tip & the swell Dutcheman of Kinderhook -- 1836

Satire on the presidential campaign of 1836, portraying the contest as a boxing match between Democratic candidate Martin Van Buren and Whig candidate William Henry Harrison. The artist clearly favors Harrison.... more

On the way to Araby!

Satire on the Jackson administration's continuing battle against the Bank of the United States. The print was specifically occasioned by the re-chartering of the Bank by the Whig-controlled Pennsylvania Legisla... more

Jinnoowine [i.e. "genuine"] Johnson ticket. "Carrying the war into Africa"

An illustrated election ticket for the presidential campaign of 1836. Oddly, the ticket lists Ohio's Democratic electors for Van Buren while making a vicious and obscene slur on the wife of his running-mate Ri... more

General Jackson slaying the many headed monster

A satire on Andrew Jackson's campaign to destroy the Bank of the United States and its support among state banks. Jackson, Martin Van Buren, and Jack Downing struggle against a snake with heads representing the... more

Uncle Sam sick with la grippe

A satire attributing the dire fiscal straits of the nation to Andrew Jackson's banking policies, with specific reference to recent bank failures in New Orleans, New York, and Philadelphia. The artist blames th... more

Fifty cents. Shin plaster

Another mock shinplaster (see also nos. 1837-9 and -10 above). Again the artist attributes the shortage of hard money to the successive monetary programs of presidents Jackson and Van Buren, particularly to the... more

New edition of MacBeth. Bank-oh's! Ghost

Another satire on the Panic of 1837, again condemning Van Buren's continuation of predecessor Andrew Jackson's hard-money policies as the source of the crisis. Clay shows the president haunted by the ghost of C... more

Illustrations of the adventures of the renowned Don Quixote & his doughty squire Sancho Panza

A burlesque history of the Jackson administration, with particular reference to his campaign to destroy the Bank of the United States. The narrative, in a series of twelve episodes, is based on Cervantes's "Don... more

Treasury note

A parody of the often worthless fractional currencies or "shinplasters" issued by banks, businesses, and municipalities in lieu of coin. These fractional notes proliferated during the Panic of 1837 with the eme... more

Settin' on a rail

A satire, probably issued during August or September 1837, on the tug-of-war for influence on the President between Jacksonian Democrats and the "soft money" or conservative elements of the party. Here the arti... more

6 cents. Humbug glory bank

Another mock bank note parodying the "shinplasters" of the 1837 panic. Such small-denomination notes were based on the division of the Spanish dollar, the dominant specie of the time. Hence they were issued in ... more

Going the whole hog

Martin Van Buren's New York political favorites are represented as piglets suckled by a giant sow "The Empire State." The artist's pointed reference is to the exploitation of New York State by the President and... more

Disturbing a martin's nest

A satire on the Van Buren administration's involvement in New York State politics. Although the precise context of the cartoon is unclear, specific reference is made to Van Buren's alliance with postmaster gene... more

"Sober second thought"

Another of HD's portrayals of the New York tradesman's "sober second thoughts" about his support of Democratic hard-money fiscal policies. (See also "Specie Claws," no. 1838-14.) Both prints touch upon the the ... more

Martin Van Buren, President of the United States / from life & on stone by Chas. Fenderich Washn. City ; printed by P.S. Duval, Philada.

Print shows Martin Van Buren, half-length portrait, facing front; includes facsimile signature (M. van Buren).

Going up Salt River

Political cartoons friendly to Van Buren were the rare exception during the 1840 campaign. Here the artist parodies the exploitation by Whig politicians of populist candidate William Henry Harrison. Martin Van ... more

Martin Van Buren. Eighth president of the United States

Half-length portrait, seated, facing slightly left.

Democratic simplicity or the arrival of our favourite son

A satirical attack on alleged excesses in the Van Buren administration and on the President's Loco Foco or radical Democratic supporters in New York. Martin Van Buren rides past New York's Tammany Hall in a lu... more

Rats quitting the ship

Postmaster general Amos Kendall's 1840 resignation prompted the artist's speculation on the desertion of other Van Buren cabinet members. Kendall resigned on May 16, to concentrate on editing the "Extra Globe,"... more

Matty's dream

Clay portrays Martin Van Buren driven from the White House by nightmares of cider barrels and Whig presidential challenger William Henry Harrison. Van Buren flees the presidential mansion in his nightshirt, dro... more

Cutting down the hickory tree and disturbing the crow's nest

Figurative portrayal of Whig opposition to the independent treasury or subtreasury system conceived by Jackson and implemented by Van Buren and the Democrats. In a large tree is a nest labeled "Sub Treasury" i... more

The trap sprung! The kinderhook fox caught!

A parody of Democratic efforts to reelect incumbent Martin Van Buren in the face of broad popular support for Whig candidate William Henry Harrison. The print is a crude woodcut evidently based on Napoleon Saro... more

An interesting family

A caricature of Martin Van Buren as an opossum. The marsupial, with a smirking Van Buren's head, rises on its hindquarters and displays in its pouch three of its "young." They are administration insiders (left... more

The almighty lever

E. W. Clay's apocalyptic allegory has public opinion as a giant lever, tilting decisively in favor of the Whigs late in the presidential campaign of 1840. In a symbolic landscape masses of people climb onto the... more

A hard road to hoe! Or, the White House Turnpike, macadamized by the north benders

A crude satire on the obstacles facing Van Buren's reelection effort in 1840. Weighed down by a large bundle labeled "Sub Treasury," Van Buren follows the lead of Andrew Jackson toward the White House. His wa... more

The ship of state on a lee shore, experienced hands coming to her rescue

The artist forecasts a Whig electoral victory and dramatizes the politically ruinous effects of Van Buren's fiscal policy and his alignment with Loco Foco forces in New York. Whig candidate William Henry Harri... more

The North Bend farmer and his visitors

A slanderous portrayal of Democratic tactics against Whig presidential candidate William Henry Harrison. The supposedly insidious and high-living Van Buren and his minions suffer by comparison to the Whig cand... more

Granny Harrison delivering the country of the executive Federalist

A satire on the Van Buren administration challenged by Whig presidential candidate William Henry Harrison. Harrison, dressed as a woman, tries to remove Van Buren from his throne with a midwife's forceps. Van... more

Martin Van Buren / Thayer, successor to Moore, Boston.

One of the few campaign prints issued in support of Democratic incumbent Martin Van Buren's 1840 presidential bid. Designed to appeal to the workingman, the print invokes the recent history of Democratic suppor... more

Black C.C. or the three Judas's

The cartoon pertains to some instance of corruption in the Van Buren administration. Van Buren shovels coins from a great pile into a bag held by a man (probably a federal judge), who urges him, "Matty fill up... more

The little magician's sleight of hand performance. An absquabulating shew, by Von Kinder & Co. But Old Tippecanoe, will soon make it "No go"

Again the theme of corruption in the Van Buren administration, here centering on the President's "Sub-Treasury" or independent treasury program, passed by Congress in July 1840. A large frigate "United States,... more

All the West going for Matty

A Whig cartoon spoofing Democratic claims of Western support for Van Buren during the election of 1840. Pursued by animals from the "Alleghany Mountains" and the Mississippi River, including among others a buf... more

Matty's perilous situation up Salt River

A pro-Whig satire on the presidential campaign of 1840. Martin Van Buren is neck-deep in the waters of "Salt River," a colloquial term for political misfortune or failure. He sinks under the weight of boxes m... more

Loco Foco and nulification nuptials

A satire on the surprising alliance, forged early in the presidential campaign of 1840, between the Van Buren administration and southern or "nullification" Whigs in the circle of John Calhoun. At left editor ... more

The mountain in labor

The artist employs Aesop's fable about the mountain which was said to be in labor, its dreadful groans attracting expectant crowds only to be disappointed when it issued forth a small mouse. Here the mountain i... more

The little magician invoked

Martin Van Buren, known as "the Little Magician" for his remarkable political agility, summons spirits to divine the Democratic or "Loco Foco" prospects for election in 1844. He sits in an astrological circle, ... more

The two bridges

As in "Texas Coming In" (no. 1844-28), a bridge over Salt River is the central motif, making the difference between the Whigs' successful crossing to the "Presidential Chair" and the disastrous route taken by t... more

"Get off the track!" A song for emancipation, sung by The Hutchinsons, . . .

An illustrated sheet music cover for an abolitionist song composed by Jesse Hutchinson, Jr. The song is dedicated to antislavery editor Nathaniel Peabody Rogers, "As a mark of esteem for his intrepidity in the ... more

Sale of dogs

Seeking a middle course between the issues of the annexation of Texas on one hand and abolitionism on the other, Van Buren lost the support of southern Democrats, including elderly statesman Andrew Jackson. Her... more

Polk & Co. Going up Salt River

The artist foresees a Democratic defeat in the 1844 presidential election. Party figures Martin Van Buren, Thomas Hart Benton, vice-presidential candidate George M. Dallas, Andrew Jackson, and presidential nomi... more

Cleansing the Augean stable

A pro-Whig satire, envisioning the cleansing of the "Augean Stable" of government corruption by presidential candidate Henry Clay and other Whigs. The title derives from one of the twelve mythical labors of Her... more

Political cock fighters

A figurative portrayal of the 1844 presidential contest as a cock-fight, in which Whig candidate Henry Clay prevails. Clay and Democratic opponent Polk battle in a pit or ring as several prominent political fi... more

Sold for want of use

Bucholzer again uses animal characterizations to poke fun at the respective faults of prominent Democrats in the 1844 presidential race. In an interior, Whig nominee Henry Clay conducts a livestock auction, off... more

The telegraphic candidates

In a race between the railroad and the telegraph the "telegraphic candidates," Lewis Cass and William O. Butler, are first to the White House. The artist ridicules Zachary Taylor for his hazy stance on major ca... more

Fording Salt River

An election-year satire favoring Free Soil candidate Martin Van Buren in the 1848 presidential contest. A long-legged John Van Buren carries his father piggyback through Salt River, heading toward the White Ho... more

The fox hunt

Again Van Buren's flirtation with radical interests is portrayed as his downfall. As in "The Modern Colossus" (no. 1848-56) antislavery activist Abby Folsom (here "Abby Fulsome") is prominently featured. Here s... more

The little magician & the modern witch of Endor

Another satire on Van Buren's alliance with extremists, here personified by radical abolitionist Abby Folsom. Van Buren's emergence as candidate of the Free Soil party in the 1848 presidential race was viewed a... more

The candidate of many parties. A phrenological examination to ascertain what his political principles are

Whig nominee Zachary Taylor's reluctance to clearly declare his political views was an issue eagerly exploited by the opposition in the 1848 campaign. Here the artist shows phrenologist Orson S. Fowler probing... more

Smoking him out

A humorous commentary on Barnburner Democrat Martin Van Buren's opposition to regular Democratic party nominee Lewis Cass. Van Buren and his son John were active in the Free Soil effort to prevent the extensio... more

Patent balancing by an amateur

New York "Tribune" editor Horace Greeley is ridiculed for vacillating between support of candidates Martin Van Buren and Zachary Taylor in the presidential election of 1848. Greeley balances precariously on a t... more

Shooting the Christmas turkey

While Democratic and Whig candidates debate strategies to win the presidency, or "shoot the Christmas turkey," Free Soil candidate Martin Van Buren makes off with the bird. At left Democrat Lewis Cass (facing f... more

The buffalo hunt

An optimistic view of the presidential prospects of Martin Van Buren, nominated at the Free Soil Party's August 1848 convention in Buffalo, New York. Here Van Buren rides a buffalo and thumbs his nose as he se... more

Barn-burners in a fix

A satire on the Barnburners, a radical faction of New York State Democrats, led by John Van Buren, whose commitment to social and monetary reforms was likened to a farmer's burning his barn to rid it of rats. H... more

Martin Van Buren from "Inquiry into the origin and course of Political Parties in the United States. By M. Van Buren. Edited by his sons"

This image has been taken from scan 000010 from "Inquiry into the origin and course of Political Parties in the United States. By M. Van Buren. Edited by his sons". The title and subject terms of this image hav... more

Martin Van Buren from "Perley's Reminiscences of sixty years in the national metropolis ... Illustrated"

This image has been taken from scan 000213 from volume 01 of "Perley's Reminiscences of sixty years in the national metropolis ... Illustrated". The title and subject terms of this image have been generated fro... more

Martin Van Buren from "Presidential inaugurations from George Washington 1789 to Grover Cleveland 1893. With inaugural addresses, etc"

This image has been taken from scan 000095 from "Presidential inaugurations from George Washington 1789 to Grover Cleveland 1893. With inaugural addresses, etc". The title and subject terms of this image have b... more

A democratic indignation meeting / after a sketch by our special artist in Elysium ; Keppler.

Print shows the ghost of Thomas Jefferson speaking to a gathering of the ghosts of John Tyler, Lewis Cass, James K. Polk, Stephen A. Douglas, Franklin Pierce, Andrew Jackson, William L. Marcy, Samuel J. Tilden,... more

A rainy day / A.C. Van Buren.

Photograph shows a woman, possibly Amelia Van Buren, wearing a coat and hat, seated in a chair, holding an umbrella.

Williams' shaving soap The leader through 20 administrations.

Advertisement for Williams' shaving soap showing head-and-shoulder portraits of Martin Van Buren and William McKinley.

M.M. Van Buren & Archbold Van Buren, Mrs. Van Buren, Mrs. C.J. Post, Mrs. J.H. Flagg

Photo shows Mrs. Van Buren (daughter of John Dustin Archbold) with her husband and son and three other women, at the christening of her father's yacht, the Vixen, at Morris Heights, New York, April 10, 1910. (S... more