Martin Van Buren   (1782-1862)

By unknown photographer, ca. 1840-1860. Courtesy of Library of Congress

Eighth President, 1837-1841

Martin Van Buren was hand-picked by his friend Andrew Jackson to follow him into the White House. But, even the support of the ever-popular Jackson could not protect Van Buren from the ill will of the people as the result of the severe economic depression that followed him into office and eventually led to his defeat in 1840. Van Buren was also responsible for forcing 15,000 Cherokee from their Georgia homeland to what is now Oklahoma. Without adequate food and supplies, the Indians marched for 116 days, escorted by federal troops who did not allow them to rest or tend to the ill. As a result, some 4,000 Indians died on the treacherous journey known as "The Trail of Tears."