Martin Van Buren

Early Life and Family

What did his parents do for a living?

His father was a farmer and innkeeper. The inn that Abraham owned was often frequented by politicians, including John Jay, Aaron Burr, and Alexander Hamilton. One rumor that circulated during Martin Van Buren’s lifetime was that Burr—a frequent guest of the inn—was Van Buren’s actual father. While this rumor has never been confirmed, what was incontrovertible was that at an early age young Martin Van Buren was exposed to political discussions. He later said that these talks left an indelible impression on him.


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