Sunday, December 03, 2006

The Little Magician Is OK

Over at American Presidents blog, elementaryhistoryteacher has a fun post about Martin Van Buren's possible connection with the origin of the phrase "OK."

I'm more of a Henry Clay man than an Andrew Jackson guy, but I do have a soft spot for the Little Magician. He looks a bit like an elf, doesn't he? And it wasn't his fault that, within several months after his inauguration in March 1837, the economy collapsed and went into a depression for some ten years.

More significantly, citing an 1827 letter from Van Buren to Thomas Ritchie of Virginia, Michael F. Holt points out that he had the foresight to see that party conflict could serve as an "antidote" to sectional conflict.
The Political Crisis of the 1850s (New York: W.W. Norton 1983), at 20-21. That's one smart guy.

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