In honor of Presidents week, it is important to remember some of the Presidents who find their roots here in the Hudson River Valley. The county of Dutchess serves as the birthplace of the thirty-second President of the United States Franklin D. Roosevelt. FDR was born in Hyde Park in 1882, and his home today is a national historic site. FDR is not the only President to call the Hudson River Valley Home. Columbia Counties Martin Van Buren served as the Eighth President. Martin Van Buren was born in Kinderhook in 1782.
Van Buren’s political career began at the age of seventeen after passing the New York State BAR exam. In his early capacities he would work behind the scene of New York politics. Van Buren’s first electoral success came in 1812, winning election to the New York State Senate for which he would serve four terms. While serving as a state senator he held the office of Attorney General for the State of New York. Van Buren left the Attorney General’s office to run for election for congress. Van Buren won the seat in congress holding the office for two terms before resigning to become the Governor of New York. Van Buren’s reign as Governor was short lived as a result of being selected to the cabinet of President Andrew Jackson. Van Buren’s rise would continue serving as Vice-President for Jacksons second term. 1836 would find Van Buren holding the Highest Office of the United States. After failing to reach re-election Van Buren would run twice more for the Presidency and failing in each effort.
Van Buren retired from politics and retreated to his home in Kinderhook till his death in July 1862. Additional information as well as reference material for this blog can be found here. For more information and visitor information on the estate of Martin Van Buren, visit our guidebook. For information on other historical sites in the Hudson River Valley, please visit our other guidebooks.