Martin Van Buren Spoke English as a Second Language

President Martin Van Buren

Martin Van Buren, the eight president of the United States and first to be born a US citizen, spoke English as a second language. In fact, he didn’t learn to speak English until he went to school and never lost his Dutch accent.

Van Buren and his wife, Hannah, also raised in  Dutch home, prefered to speak Dutch at home and in the White House.

Who was Martin Van Buren

Martin Van Buren, born on December 5th, 1782 in Kinderhook New York, was the eighth president of the United States. He served in office from 1837-1841.

Van Buren was known for his political skills and was one of the founders of the Democratic Party. He was nicknamed the “Little Magician” by his supporters and the “Sly Fox” by his opponents because of his cunning and political prowess.

Van Buren served in the New York State Senate in 1812 and then as the state’s attorney general before moving into national politics.

Van Buren served as Secretary of State under President Andrew Jackson before being elected president in 1836. He was a one-term president – defeated when he ran for re-election in 1840 by William Henry Harrison.

Van Buren died in his hometown of Kinderhook, New York on July 24th, 1862.

Van Buren's Legacy

Van Buren has a mixed legacy. He is recognised as one of the founders of the Democratic Party. But his presidency was controversial. He has been criticised for his handling of the economic depression of 1837 and for being an advocate for slavery who opposed the abolitionist movement.

Today, he is often studied as a key transitional figure between the earlier Founding Fathers and the more modern political landscape of the mid-19th century.


  1. Britannica, T. Editors of Encyclopaedia (2022, December 1). Martin Van Buren. Encyclopedia Britannica.

  2. Martin Van Buren (2023) Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. Available at: (Accessed: February 19, 2023).

    Miller Center of Public Affairs et al. (2018) Martin Van Buren, Miller Center. Available at: (Accessed: February 19, 2023).

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