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He was the leading figure in the Albany Regency a group of politicians who for more than a generation dominated much of the politics of New York and powerfully influenced the politics of the nation. The couple had four sons and one daughter: Abraham (1807–1873) a graduate of West Point and career military officer; John (1810–1866) graduate of Yale and Attorney General of New York; Martin Jr. In the case of the ship Amistad Van Buren sided with the Spanish Government to return the kidnapped slaves.
Van Buren was a key organizer of the Democratic Party a dominant figure in the Second Party System and the first president not of British or Irish descent—his family was Dutch. As Andrew Jackson's Secretary of State and then Vice President Van Buren was a key figure in building the organizational structure for Jacksonian democracy particularly in New York State. Van Buren died fourteen years later at the age of seventy-nine.