15 April 2021

This U.S. President spoke English as a second language!

This is Martin Van Buren, eighth President of the United States.  Quite a few readers of TYWKIWDBI will be pleased to learn (or will already know) that he was born Maarten Van Buren and grew up speaking Dutch as his native language.
His father, Abraham Van Buren, was a descendant of Cornelis Maessen, a native of Buurmalsen, Netherlands who had emigrated to New Netherland in 1631 and purchased a plot of land on Manhattan Island... Van Buren received a basic education at the village schoolhouse, and briefly studied Latin at the Kinderhook Academy and at Washington Seminary in Claverack. Van Buren was raised speaking primarily Dutch, and learned English at school; as of 2021, he remains the only President whose first language was not English. Also during his childhood, Van Buren learned at his father's inn how to interact with people from varied ethnic, income, and societal groups, which he used to his advantage as a political organizer.
He was one of the founders of the Democratic Party.  More at the link.

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