Even with the nation in economic crisis, Van Buren stuck to the political philosophy of Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson that the federal government should exercise only limited power. He refused to listen to those who said the federal government should try to stabilize and take control of the nation's failing economy through a new Bank of the United States.
The only thing he was willing to do was move federal funds from state banks to an independent treasury. This didn't stop the economic turmoil. For this and other reasons, when Van Buren ran for reelection in 1840, he was soundly defeated.