Today In History Spotlights Dec. 5, 1782, The Birth of Martin Van Buren

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Today’s History Spotlight

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Martin Van Buren is born in Kinderhook, New York. A child of Dutch parents, his father served the Continental Army during the American Revolution. Van Buren attended Washington Seminary at a young age, where he studied law and eventually returned to his hometown as an attorney. From 1813-1829, he served the state of New York in various political positions, including Attorney General, State Senator, and Governor. He then served as US Secretary of State from 1829-1831, US Minister to the UK from 1831-1832, and Vice President from 1833-1837.

Originally a Democratic-Republican, Van Buren joined the Democratic Party from 1825-1848, and then again from 1852-1862. Between these two time frames, he joined the Free Soil Party. Van Buren served as President from 1837-1841. During this time, he oversaw the Second Seminole War, the continuation of Native removal from the East, and the Panic of 1837. Van Buren was originally a fierce opponent of abolition, and in 1839, he argued against freedom for slaves during the Amistad Slave Revolt. Following his presidency, Van Buren supported the Union during the Civil War. He passed away on July 24, 1862.

What Happened On This Day – December 5

  • 2005 UK’s Civil Partnership Act of 2004 comes into force. UK’s Civil Partnership Act of 2004 came into force almost a year after it was passed.
  • 1977 Egypt breaks all relations with Arab countries. President Anwar al-Sadat broke all relations with Syria, Libya, Algeria, and South Yemen in response to these countries and the Palestinian Liberation Organization signing the Declaration of Tripoli. The declaration followed Sadat’s visit to Israel.
  • 1936 Establishment of the Kirghiz Soviet Socialist Republic. The Kirghiz Soviet Socialist Republic was established as a republic of the Soviet Union.
  • 1933 End of prohibition in the U.S.A national ban on alcohol in the US first instituted in 1920 by the 18th amendment, ended on this day after the ratification of the 21st amendment.
  • 1766 Christie’s hold their first sale. Art auction house Christie’s founder James Christie made his first art sale.

Births On This Day – December 5

  • 1975 Ronnie O’Sullivan – English snooker player
  • 1927 Bhumibol Adulyadej – Thai king
  • 1907 Lin BiaoChinese military officer, politician, Vice Premier of the People’s Republic of China
  • 1901 Walt Disney – American animator, director, screenwriter, producer, co-founded The Company
  • 1901 Werner Heisenberg – German physicist, Nobel Prize laureate

Deaths On This Day – December 5

  • 2012 Dave Brubeck – American pianist, composer
  • 2007 Karlheinz Stockhausen – German composer
  • 1950 Sri Aurobindo – Indian philosopher
  • 1891 Pedro II of Brazil
  • 1791 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Austrian composer

The sections “What Happened On This Day,” “Births On This Day,” and “Deaths On This Day” originally appeared at and is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Garrett Smith
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