12 Fascinating Facts to Know About U.S. President John Tyler
Fast Facts: John Tyler
Date of Birth: March 29, 1790
Place of birth: Charles City County, Virginia
Death: January 18, 1862
Burial Place: Hollywood Cemetery, Virginia
Parents: John Tyler Sr. and Mary Armistead
Education: College of William and Mary
Spouse: Letitia Christian (1813-1842); Julia Gardiner (married- 1844)
Children: 15 in total
Offices held prior to his presidency: 10th Vice President of the United States (1841); U.S. Senator from Virginia (1827-1836); 23rd Governor of Virginia (1825-1827); U.S. House of Representative from Virginia’s 23rd District (1816-1821)
US Presidency: 10th President of the United States (April 4, 1841 – March 4, 1845)
Predecessor: William Henry Harrison
Successor: James K. Polk
Most known for: a huge supporter of states’ rights; laying the ground works for the annexation of Texas
The following are 12 fascinating facts crucial in understanding the life and presidency of John Tyler:
- During the 1844 presidential campaign, realizing that he stood no chance of getting re-elected, President John Tyler backed James K. Polk. He helped Polk secure an election victory because Polk supported the Annexation of Texas. Besides, it was not as if Tyler had a choice left. All throughout his presidency, he was in a way ostracized by both the Whig Party and the Democrats.
- During his law studies, Tyler underwent tutelage from both his father and Edmund Randolph, the first US Attorney General.
- Tyler did not support the Missouri Compromise of 1820, believing that states’ rights were absolutely paramount and must take precedence over federal rights. As such, he did not want the federal government to have the power to regulate slavery in the states. He considered it unconstitutional for the federal government to impose its views on states. As a result of this, he resigned from the House in 1821 and returned to the Virginia House of Delegates.
- Initially, Tyler started off as a Democratic-Republican. However, once the political party split into a Republican and Democratic faction, Tyler joined the Democratic Party briefly. Due to his constant criticism of Andrew Jackson’s infringement of the rights of states (especially in the case of South Carolina’s ordinance), he jumped ships and moved to the Whig Party in 1834. He simply could not stand by and watch the federal government take away states’ rights willy-nilly using the Force Act (Nullification Proclamation 1832).
- Undoubtedly, John Tyler’s greatest achievement has to be the “Tyler Precedent”. The precedent created an understanding, among politicians in the U.S., that in the event of the death of the president, the vice president was to be sworn into office and assume the full power of the executive.
- It took the United States over a century to codify the Tyler Precedent. The precedent got inserted in the Constitution as the 25th Amendment in 1967. From then onward, the issue of vice president succeeding the president in times of death or illness became canonized.
- Both Presidents John Tyler and Martin Van Buren died in the same year – 1862. Van Buren was given the credit he deserved by the federal government and honored appropriately. In the case of Tyler, his death was not so much mourned by the federal government. He was largely considered a traitor for siding with the Confederacy. Hence, it was the Confederate government that provided a funeral for him.
- He was deeply in favor of the continuation of slavery in America, especially in places where he thought it was economically prudent to do so. As a matter of fact, Tyler was a slave owner himself, hailing from a reasonably wealthy and aristocratic Virginian family.
- Prior to the American Civil War erupting, John Tyler tried to bring down tensions between the North and the South. He organized a peace conference a few months before the chaos unraveled. He hoped the peace conference, which was organized in Washington, D.C. in February 1861, would help avert the impending doom that the nation was staring at.
- After Tyler used his veto powers to shoot down a tariff bill, some members of the House of Representatives – led by John Quincy Adams – sought to impeach John Tyler in 1843. The impeachment resolution did, however, fail to go through. By this time, Tyler’s relationship with his Whig Party was fractured beyond repair. As a result, John Tyler became the second president in U.S. history to go without a political party. The first person was obviously President George Washington; in Washington’s case, it was largely voluntarily, considering the fact he was the first president of the United States.
- The John Tyler administration was characterized by infighting and grudges. Many of these disagreements were also with the legislature. It has been stated that the Senate intentionally delayed the annexation of Texas vote just to spite John Tyler. By so doing, they hoped that people would be tempted to credit James K. Polk – Tyler’s successor – as the president that annexed Texas.
- Due to his quick ascent to the presidency, Tyler is considered the longest-serving president in U.S. history that was not elected (that is , April 1841 to March 1845). As a result of his somewhat fortuitous elevation to highest office in the land, his critics and detractors nicknamed him “His Accidency” as many politicians in both his Whig Party and the opposition Democratic Party came to dislike him.