President Martin Van Buren, a Jacksonian Democrat, did his best to project a strong executive image, like that of his predecessor. However, the Panic of 1837 crippled Van Buren’s economic plan. His effort to influence the courts in the Amistad case—involving a group of Africans who had staged a revolt from their Spanish captors on the high seas—only fueled his abolitionist opponents.
President Barack Obama, the first African American chief executive in the history of the United States, inspired millions of people to believe in his message of hope. His administration’s signature piece of legislation, the Affordable Care Act, came under persistent attacks as he sought to implement sweeping health-care reform. The Obama administration exercised executive powers aggressively - refusing to deport many undocumented immigrants who had entered the country as children.