The Election of 1836
• In the presidential election of 1836, Democrat
MARTIN VAN BUREN ran against three
candidates from the WHIG party, a party that
included the NATIONAL REPUBLICANS.
• VAN BUREN capitalized on the popularity of
ANDREW JACKSON. He promised to continue
JACKSON’S policies. As a result, VAN BUREN
won the election by a landslide.
Problems Left to Van Buren
• Soon after taking office, VAN BUREN ran into problems that overwhelmed his skills. The
cause of his trouble reached back to JACKSON’S war on the BANK OF THE UNITED
• After the BANK closed in 1836, state banks were able to set their own rules for operating.
Many banks began to loan money more freely. They also printed more money than they
COULD BACK UP.
• Several circumstances---FROM POOR LAND DEALS TO BAD FARM YIELDS---kept many
people from repaying their bank loans. As a result, both people and banks faced a
SHORTAGE OF MONEY. Because people had less money to spend, PRODUCTION
DROPPED AND UNEMPLOYMENT ROSE.
• As the economic crisis deepened, the so-called PANIC OF 1837 set in. Several important
banks in the EAST closed. Banks all over the country quickly did the same.
• VAN BUREN did little to relieve the panic. As a DEMOCRAT, he felt that the government
should not interfere in the economy.
• VAN BUREN did persuade Congress to establish an independent federal treasury, so that
the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT would not have to store its money in state and local banks.
The Election of 1840
• Many Americans viewed the WHIGS as the party of the
rich. With the country’s economic crisis spreading, the
WHIGS searched for a presidential candidate who
appealed to the COMMON PEOPLE.
• In 1839, the WHIGS chose GENERAL WILLIAM
HENRY HARRISON, the hero of the 1811 BATTLE OF
TIPPECANOE. Although HARRISON came from a
wealthy family, the WHIGS painted him as a man of the
• HARRISON defeated VAN BUREN in the election of
• During his inaugural speech, HARRISON caught a cold.
He died of pneumonia a month later. JOHN TYLER, his
VICE PRESIDENT, became PRESIDENT.