December 5, 1782: Martin Van Buren was born. He was the 8th president, serving between 1837 and 1841. Van Buren was the first president to be born an American citizen. All previous presidents were born British subjects; he's also the only president not to have spoken English as a first language. Van Buren is one of only two people who served as secretary of State, vice president, and president. The other: Thomas Jefferson. There is some debate as to whether Van Buren’s nickname — "Old Kinderhook" — spurred use of the phrase "OK" in the U.S.
Quote of the Day
"As to the presidency, the two happiest days of my life were those of my entrance upon the office and my surrender of it." — Martin Van Buren
More from West Wing Reports...
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How academia's liberal bias is killing social science
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Hey, bosses: Stop giving bonuses to your employees
- 10 things you need to know today: December 18, 2014
- Why torture doesn't work: A definitive guide
- Capitalism isn't a cure-all for Cuba
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- The liberation of Barack Obama
- Diagnosing the Home Alone burglars' injuries: A professional weighs in
- Dick Cheney's America is an ugly place
Subscribe to the Week