Martin Van Buren

Political Offices

What did Van Buren accomplish as secretary of state?

Van Buren managed to convince the British to open their ports in the Caribbean to American ships. This treaty with the British opened the West Indies to American merchants. He also oversaw a treaty with France that settled the question of the amount of compensation that American citizens could obtain for damages caused by the French while seizing American ships; some of these claims dated back to the Napoleonic era. He initiated positive diplomatic communications with Russia and oversaw a successful treaty with Turkey that gave U.S. ships the right to sail in the Black Sea.


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