July 24, 1862: Martin Van Buren died. He was the eighth president, serving between 1837-41. Known as "Blue Whiskey Van," for his heavy drinking, Van Buren had slipped into a coma three days before.
Van Buren helped organize what today is the Democratic Party. He was the first president who was of neither British nor Irish descent (his family was Dutch) and was the first president born as an American citizen. He is the only president who didn't speak English growing up — Dutch was his first language — and the first president from New York.
The Van Buren presidency was largely characterized by the Panic of 1837 and the economic depression that followed. Critics attacked him, labeling him "Martin Van Ruin." Van Buren lost his re-election bid in 1840 to Whig candidate William Henry Harrison.
July 24, 1941: Franklin D. Roosevelt demanded that Japanese troops leave Indo-China. They didn't.
Quote of the day
"The advancement and diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty." -James Madison
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