AP US: Martin Van Buren and William Henry Harrison as President (1837-1841)

Election of 1836

  • Martin Van Buren is chosen as the successor to Jackson
  • he's from New York, and "aristocrat"

Panic of 1837

  • began as Jackson was leaving office
  • the worst financial crisis to hit up to this point
    • all the financial crises will be the worst up to their points
  • Causes
    • Specie Circular
      • state banks were unable to meet demand for specie, and were forced to close
    • Wildcat Banks
      • made loans to land speculators, who couldn't repay the loans
      • they were left with large, unprotected loans
    • Government Bonds for Transportation
      • investors who had bought bonds to support failed turnpikes and roads lost everything
  • Van Buren takes the brunt of the Panic
    • he could do very little to ease the panic and stop depression
    • the one thing he does do is to get Congress to pass the Independent Treasury Act, which allows the government to create sub-treasuries, which are vaults in various cities to hold the government's specie
    • he's a one-term President, suffering from Jackson's decisions

Election of 1840 and Harrison as President

  • Van Buren gets swept out of office - he's blamed for the Panic of 1837
  • the Whigs (formerly National Republicans) win the campaign
  • "Tippecanoe and Tyler Too" - William Henry Harrison had won the battle of Tippecanoe
    • he's wealthy, born in a mansion, etc.
    • however, he is portrayed as a common man, born in a log cabin, military fighter, etc.
    • portray Van Buren as an aristocrat
    • use Jackson's campaign to win Harrison the Presidency
    • also, the economy is terrible, which doesn't help Van Buren
  • Harrison gives the longest inaugural speech up to his time in cold, nasty weather
  • he gets sick and dies after 30 days in office, without making any significant decisions
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