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Meet Amazing Americans U.S. Presidents Martin Van Buren
Statue of John C. Calhoun in the U.S. Capitol
Statue of John C. Calhoun in the U.S. Capitol

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Van Buren and Politics

Van Buren set his sights on the vice presidency. He did so by beating Vice President John Calhoun in the power struggle over who was most likely to succeed Jackson as president. Van Buren used a social scandal to advance his political interests.

Early in Jackson's presidency, Washington high society--especially Vice President Calhoun's wife--refused to associate with Secretary of War John Eaton's wife, Margaret ("Peggy"), because of rumors that she had begun her romance with Eaton while her first husband was still alive. But Van Buren supported Peggy Eaton. How did this help him become vice president?

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