Martin Van Buren was born December 5, 1782, in Kinderhook, New York. His father owned a tavern, and when he was little, he listened to famous men such as Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr argue politics when they often visited. His nickname, “Old Kinderhook,” has been credited as the origination of the American expression “OK,” coined at that time for the town he was born in.
Elected Jackson’s Vice-President in 1832, Van Buren became the last sitting Vice-President for 156 years to win election as President. A Democrat, Van Buren’s Vice President was Richard M. Johnson. During his term, many important inventions changed American life, including Morse’s telegraph, Deere’s steel plow, McCormick’s mechanical reaper, and Goodyear’s vulcanized rubber. Slavery was a growing issue during Van Buren’s time.
Van Buren died July 24, 1862.