Martin Van Buren

Political Offices

Who was Van Buren’s political enemy in New York?

Van Buren’s chief rival was DeWitt Clinton, who became governor of New York in 1817 and earlier had served in the U.S. Senate. Clinton referred to Van Buren as “the prince of villains.” Clinton is best known for running for President in 1812 against James Madison. The two battled for control of the Democratic-Republican party for years.

When he was governor of New York, Clinton removed Van Buren as attorney general and replaced him with Thomas J. Oakley. Van Buren also tried for a seat on the bench, but Governor Clinton vetoed such an idea.


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