About This Lesson
This lesson is based on the National Register of Historic Places registration file "Lindenwald" (with photographs) and other sources related to Van Buren. It was written by John Miller, a former Park Ranger at Martin Van Buren National Historic Site. TwHP is sponsored, in part, by the Cultural Resources Training Initiative and Parks as Classrooms programs of the National Park Service. This lesson is one in a series that brings the important stories of historic places into the classrooms across the country.
Where it fits into the curriculum
Topics: This lesson complements classroom study of early 19th-century politics by tracing the life of Martin Van Buren and examining his retirement home. It could be used in U.S. history courses and in civics or government classes. Students will gain a deeper understanding of the man who played an important role in the Jacksonian Era.
Time period: Early to mid 19thcentury
Relevant United States History Standards for Grades 5-12
Relevant Curriculum Standards for Social Studies
Find your state's social studies and history standards for grades Pre-K-12
Objectives for students
1) To describe the personality and character of Martin Van Buren as reflected in his lifestyle.
2) To explain Van Buren's political views and his role in defining the Jacksonian Era.
3) To develop an understanding of the national issues of the 1830s and the positions taken by political parties of the time.
4) To identify the ways in which political campaigns act as expressions of popular culture.
5) To compare Van Buren's attitude toward the depression of 1837 with President Herbert Hoover's stance toward the Great Depression of the 1930s.
6) To investigate a recent or current political campaign in their own community or region.
Materials for students
The materials listed below either can be used directly on the computer or can be printed out, photocopied, and distributed to students. The maps, photos, drawings, and the editorial cartoon appear twice: in a low-resolution version with associated questions and alone in a larger, high-resolution version.
1) two maps of the Hudson River Valley region;
2) three readings about Van Buren's private and political life;
3) photos and drawings of Lindenwald;
4) a political cartoon.
Visiting the site
Martin Van Buren National Historic Site, administered by the National Park Service, is just south of Kinderhook, New York, on Highway 9H. The house is open daily May through October. For more information, write the Superintendent, Martin Van Buren National Historic Site, P.O. Box 545, Kinderhook, NY 12106 or visit the park web pages.