Martin Van Buren: The American Presidents Series by Ted Widmer:
Will Rogers once said, “I don’t belong to an organized party—I’m a Democrat.” But, in fact, organization is precisely what distinguished the proto-party that Van Buren was forming. Far beyond anything that had existed before, Van Buren envisioned a national structure, tethered together by speedy communications and tight message control, that would unite the aspirations of “the planters of the South and the plain Republicans of the North.” It was the Regency reanimated—only on a far bigger scale. From across the Union, the people would be connected by alert local committees reporting to their state chairmen, but, just as importantly, by the novel sense that politics was a participatory ritual, gaudy and fun. It took a tavernkeeper’s son to figure out that the American people actually like being with each other.