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John Tyler (March 29,
1790 - January 18,
1862) of Virginia was
the 10th (1841-1845) Order: 10th President
President of the United Term of Office: April 4, 1841 - March 4, 1845
States, but only the
second one born after Followed: William Henry Harrison
the Declaration of Succeeded by: James Knox Polk
Date of Birth March 29, 1790
He studied law with his Place of Birth: Greenway, Virginia
father, John Tyler Date of Death: January 18, 1862
(1747 - 1813), who
became governor of Place of Death: Richmond, Virginia
Virginia (1808 - 1811),
and followed his father Wives: Letitia Christian
as governor (1825 - Letitia Christian
1827) after a stint in
the House of First Ladies: Priscilla Cooper (daughter-in-law)
Letitia Tyler (daughter)
Representatives. During Julia Gardiner
his time as U.S.
Senator, Tyler, who had Occupation: lawyer
begun as a strict Political Party: Whig
grew increasingly Vice President: none
alienated from the Jacksonian Democrats, especially by Jackson's aggressive
handling of the South Carolina nullification issue.
Drawn into the newly-organized Whig party, Tyler was elected Vice President
in 1840 as running mate to William Henry Harrison, on the slogan
'Tippecanoe&mdash and Tyler too!' and assumed the presidency upon Harrison's
death a month into his term.
Tyler was the first Vice President to assume the Presidency in this manner.
On April 6, 1841, he took the Presidential oath of office as specified by
the Constitution. The Cabinet and Congress agreed with Tyler that he was
President and not merely Acting President, and as the Constitution was not
explicit on that aspect of succession (until the 1967 ratification of the
25th Amendment), both the House and Senate passed resolutions recognizing
Tyler as President.
His presidency was rarely taken seriously in his time; he was usually
referred to as the "Acting President" or "His Ascendency" by opponents.
Further, Harrison was expected to adhere closely to Whig Party policies and
work closely with Whig leaders, particularly Henry Clay. Tyler shocked
Congressional Whigs by vetoing virtually the entire Whig agenda, twice
vetoing Clay's legislation for a national banking act following the Panic of
1837 and leaving the government deadlocked. Tyler was officially expelled
from the Whig Party in 1841, a few months after taking office, and the
entire cabinet he had inherited from Harrison resigned in September. The one
exception was Daniel Webster, Secretary of State, who remained to finalize
the Webster-Ashburton Treaty in 1842, demonstrating his independence of Clay.
For two years Tyler struggled with the Whigs, but when he took John C.
Calhoun as Secretary of State, to 'reform' the Democrats, the gravitational
swing of the Whigs to identity with 'the North' and the Democrats as the
party of 'the South,' led the way to the sectional party politics of the
Tyler's last act in office was perhaps the most significant: he signed the
bill annexing Texas, which had formerly been part of Mexico, thus extending
the territory of slave-holding states and unbalancing the Missouri
Compromise. The consequences of this act, which triggered war with Mexico,
Tyler left to his successor, James K. Polk.
Tyler retired to a plantation named "Walnut Grove" he had bought in
Virginia, renaming it "Sherwood Forest" to signify that he had been
"outlawed" by the Whig party, and withdrew from electoral politics, though
his advice continued to be sought by states-rights Democrats.
In February 1861, Tyler re-entered public life to sponsor and chair the
Washington peace convention. The Washington peace convention sought a
compromise to avoid civil war, while the Confederate Consitution was being
drawn up at the Montgomery Convention. When the Senate rejected his plan,
Tyler urged Virginia's immediate secession. Having served in the provisional
Confederate Congress in 1861, he was elected to the Confederate House of
Representatives but died before he could take office.
Supreme Court appointments
* Samuel Nelson - 1845