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John Tyler

American lawyer, politician

Died when: 73 years 20 days (876 months)
Star Sign: Aries


John Tyler

John Tyler (March 29, 1790 – January 18, 1862) was the tenth president of the United States, serving from 1841 to 1845, after briefly holding office as the tenth vice president in 1841.

He was elected vice president on the 1840 Whig ticket with President William Henry Harrison, succeeding to the presidency following Harrison's death 31 days after assuming office.

Tyler was a stalwart supporter and advocate of states' rights, including regarding slavery, and he adopted nationalistic policies as president only when they did not infringe on the states' powers.

His unexpected rise to the presidency posed a threat to the presidential ambitions of Henry Clay and other Whig politicians and left Tyler estranged from both of the nation's major political parties at the time.

Tyler was born into a prominent slaveholding Virginia family.He became a national figure at a time of political upheaval.

In the 1820s, the nation's only political party was the Democratic-Republican Party, and it split into factions.Initially a Democrat, Tyler opposed President Andrew Jackson during the Nullification Crisis as he saw Jackson's actions as infringing on states' rights and criticized Jackson's expansion of executive power during the Bank War.

This led Tyler to ally with the Whig Party.He served as a Virginia state legislator and governor, U.S. representative, and U.S. senator.

Tyler was a regional Whig vice-presidential nominee in the 1836 presidential election; they lost.He was the sole nominee on the 1840 Whig presidential ticket as William Henry Harrison's running mate.

Under the campaign slogan "Tippecanoe and Tyler Too", the Harrison-Tyler ticket defeated incumbent president Martin Van Buren.President Harrison died just one month after taking office, and Tyler became the first vice president to succeed to the presidency.

Amid uncertainty as to whether a vice president succeeded a deceased president, or merely took on his duties, Tyler immediately took the presidential oath of office, setting a lasting precedent.

He signed into law some of the Whig-controlled Congress's bills, but he was a strict constructionist and vetoed the party's most important bills to create a national bank and raise tariff rates.

He believed that the president, rather than Congress, should set policy, and he sought to bypass the Whig establishment led by Senator Henry Clay.

Most of Tyler's cabinet resigned shortly into his term and the Whigs expelled him from the party, dubbing him "His Accidency".

Tyler was the first president to have his veto of legislation overridden by Congress.He faced a stalemate on domestic policy, although he had several foreign-policy achievements, including the Webster–Ashburton Treaty with Britain and the Treaty of Wanghia with China.

Tyler firmly believed in manifest destiny and saw the annexation of Texas as economically advantageous to the United States, signing a bill to offer Texas statehood just before leaving office and returning to his plantation.

When the American Civil War began in 1861, Tyler at first supported the Peace Conference.When it failed he sided with the Confederacy.

He presided over the opening of the Virginia Secession Convention and served as a member of the Provisional Congress of the Confederate States.

Tyler subsequently won election to the Confederate House of Representatives but died before it assembled.Some scholars have praised Tyler's political resolve, but historians have generally given his presidency a low ranking.

Tyler did make progress in combining the American and British navies to stop oceanic African slave trafficking under the Webster-Ashburton Treaty.

That treaty also peacefully settled the border between Maine and Canada.Today, Tyler is seldom remembered in comparison to other presidents and maintains only a limited presence in American cultural memory.

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