Martin Van Buren as a protagonist of “anti-campaign” biographies

Jozef Pecina, University of Ss Cyril and Methodius, Slovakia, ID 159;        Abstract: Starting with Andrew Jackson, presidential candidates in the United States used campaign biographies as useful political tools and since 1824, no presidential election year has passed without a campaign biography.  Interestingly, Martin Van Buren, President Jackson’s successor in the White House, became a target of what can be called the “anti-campaign” biographies which were written by his Whig opponents. In contrast to a campaign biography, whose purpose was to promote a politician, its counterpart became a tool for smearing one’s opponent.  The article focuses on the portrayal of presidential candidate Martin Van Buren in two such works – The Life of Martin Van Buren,  allegedly written by Davy Crockett, the frontiersman and US Senator from Tennessee of the Alamo fame in 1835, and a novel named The Partisan Leader; A Tale of the Future, written by Nathaniel Beverley Tucker in 1836. Though being of different genres, these curious and obscure works have certain things in common - they were written under pseudonyms, their main goal was to prevent the election of Martin Van Buren and both of them failed in their goal.

Key words: Martin Van Buren, presidential campaign, Whigs, biography, Davy Crockett, tyranny



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