Guest Essayist: Lisa Ice-Jones
Martin Van Buren was victorious over the Whig Party and its slate of candidates in the election of 1836, but the preparation for this victory had been a long time coming. Van Buren had been championing the causes of Jefferson’s Democratic Republican party since early in his career. He was, through his affiliation with his own political machine the “Albany Regency”, described as one of them and having great ability, great industry, indomitable courage and strict personal integrity.” He later illustrated that he was capable of shrewd political maneuvering. He chose to “tred generally in the footsteps of President Jackson” (Moore, 2007) but he also knew when to distance himself. Because Jackson was a popular President with the people, they liked Van Buren’s alignment with Jackson. They also liked the fact that Jackson trusted Van Buren even though Henry Clay, with his political magnetism, tried to convince the people that Van Buren was Jackson’s puppet and that Jackson would be controlling him from behind the scenes.