TwHP Lessons

Martin Van Buren's
"Return to the Soil"

[Cover photo] Lindenwald
(Martin Van Buren National Historic Site)

Ex-President Van Buren returned to the place of his nativity on Saturday last...after the lapse of a long series of years, spent in the service of his country, he has returned to the home of his youth, probably to spend the evening of his days among those who have long appreciated the splendor of his genius and admired his virtues.
(Kinderhook Sentinel, May 1841)

Upon the end of his presidential term in 1841, Martin Van Buren did indeed move to his recently purchased estate, located only two miles away from the small New York village of Kinderhook, where he was born and raised. At this estate, which he called Lindenwald, the skillful politician, loyal successor to President Andrew Jackson, and eighth president of the United States (1837-1841) spent his retirement years.

Restored to the period of his occupancy (1841-62), Lindenwald reflects the refined sense of fashion and the comfortable way of life of a sophisticate. It is the home of a small town boy who ultimately rose to the presidency and who, along the way, acquired a taste for the finer things in life. In decorating his home, he spared no expense. Fifty-one elaborate imported wallpaper panels formed a mural-like hunting scene in the hall. Fine furniture and Brussels carpets added to the elegance. The estate also provides evidence that the man had not forgotten his origins. He was comfortable living as a well-to-do farmer in the Kinderhook region where he was born.


About This Lesson

Getting Started: Inquiry Question

Setting the Stage: Historical Context

Locating the Site: Maps
 1. New York and surrounding states
 2. Kinderhook, New York

Determining the Facts: Readings
 1. The Life of Martin Van Buren
 2. Martin Van Buren as Compromiser
 3. Home at Last

Visual Evidence: Images
 1. Lindenwald, 1797
 2. Lindenwald, 1862 and today
 3. Entrance hall, Lindenwald
 4. Editorial cartoon of Martin Van Buren

Putting It All Together: Activities
 1. Democrats and Whigs
 2. Comparing Presidents
 3. Political Cartoons
 4. Local Political Campaigns

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Martin Van Buren NHS

This lesson is based on the Martin Van Buren National Historic Site, one of the thousands of properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places.




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