John Tyler by Gary MayWhen John Tyler rose to the presidency because of the death of William Henry Harrison, he became the first vice-president to do so. He didn’t receive a cool nickname like “Tippecanoe”: instead, they called him “His Accidency.”
They soon called him other things. When he tried to govern according to his principles, ignoring not only Democratic desires but his own Whig party’s demands, they called him “Monsieur Veto.” When his cabinet of Whigs—except for Daniel Webster—all resigned in frustration, and the Whigs officially expelled him, they called him “The Man Without a Party.” And even later, when a generation had passed and Tyler, having voted at the Virginia convention to secede from the Union, was elected to the Confederate States House of Representatives, they called him “Traitor” too.
Perhaps his was inevitably a contentious presidency, for nobody—not even himself—seriously believed he would be president. The Whigs leaders considered him weak, and only chose him as vice-president to satisfy the patrician planters of the Old South, a minority of their uneasy coalition. But Tyler, the last of the Virginia presidents, took his states’ rights principles seriously, and fought his would-be puppet-master Henry Clay over the establishment of a new bank, and other matters. The irony was that Tyler became so isolated that he felt compelled to stretch the boundaries of executive authority merely to survive, thereby acting like the kind of imperial president a state’s rights man like himself should despise.
Still, his presidency could boast of achievements, particularly in foreign policy: the Webster-Ashburton Treaty (which fixed the Maine-Canada border and led to better relations with England) the Treaty of Wanghia (which opened China to American trade, giving the US “most favored nation” status), and established “The Tyler Doctrine” (which extended the Monroe Doctrine to include the Sandwich Islands, later the state of Hawaii), and the problematic annexation of Texas (which would soon, under President Polk, lead to the Mexican War.)
I enjoyed reading about the life of John Tyler in Gary May’s clear and concise account. He was a good man, according to his lights, a man of principle who ceased to be an ideologue when difficult circumstances forced him to be pragmatic.
He is buried in Richmond’s Hollywood Cemetery, not far from his fellow Virginia president, James Monroe.
John Tyler - Tenth President of the United States
He assumed office after the death of President William Henry Harrison , who passed away from pneumonia after just a month in the White House. A Virginian, he was elected to the state legislature at age 21 and went on to serve in the U. Congress and as governor of Virginia. As president, Tyler clashed with the Whigs, who later tried, unsuccessfully, to impeach him. He was the son of John Tyler Sr.
John Tyler March 29, — January 18,  was the tenth president of the United States from to after briefly serving as the tenth vice president ; he was elected to the latter office on the Whig ticket with President William Henry Harrison. Tyler ascended to the presidency after Harrison's death in April , only a month after the start of the new administration. He was a stalwart supporter and advocate of states' rights , and as president he adopted nationalist policies only when they did not infringe on the powers of the states. His unexpected rise to the presidency, with the resulting threat to the presidential ambitions of Henry Clay and other politicians, left him estranged from both major political parties. Tyler, born to a prominent Virginia family , became a national figure at a time of political upheaval. In the s the nation's only political party, the Democratic-Republicans , split into factions. He was initially a Democrat , but opposed Andrew Jackson during the Nullification Crisis , seeing Jackson's actions as infringing upon states' rights, and criticized Jackson's expansion of executive power during the Bank War.
John Tyler was born on March 29, in Virginia.
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John Tyler’s Early Life and Family
He held the office of vice president for only 33 days; he presided over the Senate for less than two hours. Despite this brief experience, John Tyler significantly strengthened the office by enforcing an interpretation of the Constitution that many of his contemporaries disputed.