Martin Van Buren


What was the Panic of 1837?

The Panic of 1837 was a severe economic crisis that doomed Van Buren to becoming a one-term president. President Jackson had issued an executive order called the Specie Circular, or Coinage Act, which required that all payment for government lands be paid in gold and silver. Jackson issued the order because of perceived rampant land speculation.

Jackson also refused to reissue a charter for the Second National Bank. Van Buren carried out these financial policies when he became president. Many banks began to fail and a period of inflation engulfed the economy. The Panic led to roughly five years of economic depression. The net effect politically was that Van Buren and the Democratic Party suffered, while the Whig Party rose in popularity.


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