President from 1840 to 1844
By Richard E. Noble
Serves them right! Ha ha! John Tyler is just what those Whigs deserved. They spent all their bucks on bribes, lies, phony advertising, political propaganda, and backroom skullduggery in order to get their old puppet William Henry Harrison elected, and before he even gets to serve one day he drops dead. In came John Tyler, a man not of their sympathies, not of their philosophy, and in basic disagreement with everything that they stood for. They had selected him as vice president to balance the ticket, never thinking for a second that he would ever become president. He vetoed everything they brought up and within five months of his first year in office his whole Whig cabinet, led by Henry Clay, resigns. Only Daniel Webster chooses to remain by the new president's side. But even old Daniel decides to resign before the term is over.
John Tyler is not a federalist or a nationalist. He supports state's rights. Well, he liked state's rights for most states, Rhode Island not included. Old John (I guess I shouldn't call him old. He was the youngest president to that date) hated Andrew Jackson for stating that he would send the federal troops into the states to settle the nullification controversy, but then threatened the same tactic when Rhode Island had a problem with its franchise requirements.
He presented the first presidential crisis. Should a vice president be allowed to step in when the elected president didn't even serve one day? Should we have another election? Should somebody else be appointed? Was this fair? The Whigs wanted to get rid of him but the Constitution was in their way. It pretty much said what should happen if a president dies. It didn't mention if he died after one day or three hundred days. So Tyler was it, and the Whigs and everybody else would just have to live with him.
He wanted to annex Texas into the Union, and thought that the slavery issue would go away if everybody just ignored it. I wonder? Do you think that it would have? Would there ever have come a time that slavery would have just dissipated because it wasn't economical or practical, or desirable, or moral? It's strange but slavery has had its longest life in Africa - among the all black nations.
He did manage to get Texas annexed by the end of his term, but nobody was willing to ignore slavery for long.
If John had lived long enough, he would have spent his last years in a federal penitentiary or in disgrace, or wherever it was that those who were elected to the Confederate Legislature ended up, but instead, he died in 1862.
John was, to say the least, prolific. He had seven children by his first wife before she finally died of a stroke, and then seven more by his second wife.
His second father-in-law was killed one day while they were all enjoying a cruse down the Potomac on the frigate, the Princeton. A new, super-large, bow-canon was being demonstrated. They tried to fire it and it exploded. Tyler just missed getting blown up himself. Then he almost fell off the gang plank while rescuing his new bride, and then at the mass funeral his horse and carriage ran away. The new president almost got killed three times in one week.