President John Tyler
Source: Library of Congress
Served as President: 1841-1845
Vice President: none
Age at inauguration: 51
Born: March 29, 1790 in Charles City County, Virginia
Died: January 18, 1862 in Richmond, Virginia
Married: Letitia Christian Tyler and to Julia Gardiner Tyler
Children: Mary, Robert, John, Elizabeth, Letitia, Tarwell, Alice, David, John, Julia, Lachlan, Lyon, Robert, Pearl
Nickname: His Accidency
What is John Tyler most known for?
John Tyler is known for being the first president to serve without being elected to office. He served nearly an entire term of four years after President William Henry Harrison died just 32 days after taking office.
John grew up in a large family on a plantation in Virginia. His father was a famous Virginian politician who was governor of Virginia and, later, became a judge. His mother died when he was just seven years old, but John was close to his father. As a boy he enjoyed playing the violin and hunting.
John graduated from the College of William and Mary in 1807. After graduation he studied law and began to practice law after passing the bar in 1809.
Sherwood Forest by Samuel H. Gottscho
Before He Became President
Tyler entered politics at the young age of 21 when he was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates. His political career continued to rise over the years as he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, Governor of Virginia, and the U.S. Senator from Virginia.
John had long been a member of the Democrat Party, but split with them over some of President Andrew Jackson's policies. He joined the Whig Party which was for strong states rights.
In 1840, Tyler was selected by the Whigs to run as Vice President with William Henry Harrison in order to get the southern vote. Harrison's nickname was Tippecanoe and the campaign slogan as "Tippecanoe and Tyler too". They won the election over incumbent Martin Van Buren.
President William Henry Harrison Dies
President Harrison got a terrible cold during his long inauguration speech. His cold turned into Pneumonia and he died 32 days later. This caused some confusion as the U.S. Constitution was unclear as to exactly what should happen when the president died. Tyler, however, took control and became president. He assumed all the powers of president as well as the title. Later, the 25th Amendment would describe the succession to the presidency so there would be no confusion.
John Tyler's Presidency
When Tyler became president, he did not fall in line with the Whig party politics. He disagreed with them on several issues. As a result, they kicked him out of the party and all but one of the cabinet members resigned. They even tried to impeach him saying that he misused his veto power. The impeachment failed, however.
Tyler was a strong proponent of states' rights. This meant that he thought state governments should have more power and the federal government less power. States should be able to set their own laws without the federal government interfering. His policies regarding states' rights caused a further riff and separation between the northern and southern states. This likely had some influence and helped to cause the Civil War.
Accomplishments during his presidency:
- Log Cabin Bill - Tyler signed the Log Cabin Bill which gave settlers the right to claim land before it was for sale and then buy it later for $1.25 an acre. This helped to get the west settled and expand the country.
- Annexation of Texas - Tyler worked for the annexation of Texas so it could become part of the United States.
- Tariff Bill - He signed a tariff bill that helped to protect northern manufacturers.
- Canadian Border Dispute - The Webster-Ashburton Treaty helped to end a border dispute with the Canadian colonies along the Maine border.
After leaving the presidency, Tyler retired to Virginia. He began to think that the South should secede from the United States. When the Civil War began and the south formed the Confederate States, Tyler became a member of the Confederate Congress.
How did he die?
Tyler had always been somewhat sickly. As he grew older his health continued to fail. It is thought that he finally died from a stroke.
Fun Facts About John Tyler
by G.P.A. Healy
by G.P.A. Healy
- He was born in the same place, Charles City County, Virginia, as his presidential running mate William Henry Harrison.
- Tyler tried to help negotiate a compromise between the southern states and the northern states so there would not be war.
- He liked big families. With his two wives he fathered 15 children, more than any other president.
- He had two boys named John, one with each wife.
- Because he was part of the Confederacy, his death was not recognized by Washington.
- His favorite horse was named "General". The horse was buried at his plantation with a gravestone.
- He was given the nickname "His Accidency" because he was not elected president and his rivals said he got to be president by accident.
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