From the year 1837 to 1857, there was a string of less than average presidents. Minus James K. Polk, the best president of the group was the eighth president, Martin Van Buren. The reason Van Buren was a bad president was because he marched to the beat of his own drum too often. He never listened to his cabinet. An example of this is his refusing to move on acquiring either Texas or Canada even after Texas wanted to join the Union.
The largest problem of the Van Buren Administration was the Panic of 1837. I don’t believe this was his fault. The Panic started just two months after Van Buren’s inauguration. The president tried to call a special session five days after the panic started, but the U.S. House refused to pass the bill. This showed Van Buren was handcuffed when trying to solve the problem. Then he tried more solutions but all of them failed. The cause of the Panic of 1837 was Andrew Jackson. With Jackson killing the bank, he also weakened the economy and thus leading to the Panic. And just like Herbert Hoover had the Great Depression dumped on him, Van Buren had the Panic of 1837. And, again, just like Hoover, Van Buren didn’t do enough to solve the economic problems. The reason Van Buren was handcuffed by the House was that it was still controlled by the Whig party from the Jackson Administration. In conclusion, I think that if Van Buren hadn’t been limited in what he could do by the post-Jackson Whig party, he probably would have been a much better president although he would never be a great president.