President of the Day

Handy Presidents 2e
ISBN: 9781578593170

Which president served forty-three days as the governor of New York?

  • He formed the "Albany Regency."
  • He tried the person who surrendered Detroit in the War of 1812 for treason.
  • He offered a cabinet post to author Washington Irving.
  • He impressed judges as young as fifteen with his skills.

Martin Van Buren

What was the "Albany Regency?"

The Albany Regency was a group of politicians from the Albany, New York, area who formed what was essentially a political machine. The group, led by Van Buren, held similar political beliefs and controlled New York politics for about eighteen years. Thurlow Weed, a New York political figure, who favored Clinton more than Van Buren, coined the term to refer to Van Buren and his political allies. Van Buren was considered to be one of the fathers of so-called machine politics and the Albany Regency was, in many senses, his machine.

Why was Van Buren's tenure as governor so short?

Van Buren served only forty-three days as New York's governor. He had made it clear to members of the Albany Regency that if Andrew Jackson became president, he might leave New York for a position in Washington, D.C. in Jackson's cabinet. That is exactly what happened, as Jackson asked Van Buren to be his secretary of state.

What famous prosecution did Van Buren handle as state attorney general?

Van Buren successfully prosecuted Brigadier General William Hull for treason. Hull had surrendered the city of Detroit to the British in 1812 without any significant resistance. Van Buren secured a conviction and Hull was sentenced to death by firing squad. However, President James Madison intervened and pardoned Hull.

To which famous writer did Van Buren offer a cabinet position?

After his secretary of the navy, Mahlon Dickerson, resigned, Van Buren offered the position to Washington Irving, a writer of great renown and a personal friend of the president. Irving declined the offer in part because of the hostile political atmosphere.

What was Van Buren's initial occupation?

Van Buren worked in the law office of Kinderhook lawyer Francis Silvester when he was only fourteen years old. He worked at Silvester's office for five years and did everything from sweeping floors and running errands to helping with more substantive legal matters. One story said that when Van Buren was only fifteen years old, he impressed a local judge with his note-taking in court. The judge asked the young teenager to sum up the case for the jurors.

From The Handy Presidents Answer Book, Second Edition by David L. Hudson, Jr., JD., (c) Visible Ink Press(R) More than 1,600 things you never knew about our nation's leaders

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