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Scope, Organization, and Selection of Documents

The digital edition consists of the Papers of Martin Van Buren microfilm edition and new documents we have discovered as part of our active search.

As part of the the digital edition, we publish all known letters sent to and written by Van Buren (or at his direction), as well as his notable speeches and public papers. Additional documents included in the original microfilm edition, but dated outside of the chronological scope of the below series or not defined as Van Buren documents, are also included in the digital edition on a case-by-case basis.

The editors have organized the digital edition into fourteen discrete series and have identified the major topics in each series:

  1. Kinderhook Years (Dec. 1782-Dec. 1811): Childhood and time as lawyer and local politician.
  2. Albany Years (Jan. 1812-16 Feb. 1815): State senator and War of 1812 prosecutor.
  3. Attorney General and Party Leader (17 Feb. 1815-2 Dec. 1821): Attorney general, state senator, founder of Albany Regency, member of state constitutional convention.
  4. U.S. Senator, pt. 1 (3 Dec. 1821-Dec. 1824): U.S. Senator, support for William H. Crawford in 1824 presidential election.
  5. U.S. Senator, pt. 2, and Governor (Jan. 1825-3 March 1829): Support for Jackson, formation of Jacksonian Democratic coalition, election of 1828, NY gubernatorial tenure.
  6. U.S. Secretary of State and U.S. Minister to England (4 March 1829-3 March 1833): Jackson’s secretary of state, Eaton affair, minister to England, vice-presidential candidate in 1832 election.
  7. Vice President (4 March 1833-3 March 1837): Jackson’s vice president, Bank War, 1836 election.
  8. President, pt. 1 (4 March 1837-Dec. 1837): Panic of 1837, independent treasury, Indian Removal, etc.
  9. President, pt. 2 (Jan.-Dec. 1838): Economic issues, independent treasury, Indian removal, etc.
  10. President, pt. 3 (Jan.-Dec. 1839): Panic of 1839, independent treasury, border conflicts, campaign tour through mid-Atlantic states, etc.
  11. President, pt. 4 (Jan. 1840-4 March 1841): Independent treasury, border conflicts, Amistad case, 1840 election.
  12. Defeat and 1844 Campaign (5 March 1841-Dec. 1844): Return to Kinderhook, 1842 national tour, Texas annexation, 1844 Democratic convention, 1844 election.
  13. Move to Free Soil Party (Jan. 1845-Dec. 1848): Break from Polk and Democratic Party, Free Soil Party nomination, 1848 election.
  14. Retirement (Jan. 1849-24 July 1862; undated): Farming, family life, political correspondence, support for Lincoln in Civil War, death.

Where possible, we have linked digital images of transcribed documents. Most of these images come from the Library of Congress' collection of Van Buren documents, which are in the public domain. If there is not a digital image accompanying a transcription, then it is very likely that we do not have permission to post it on our website.