Happy birthday John Tyler (b. March 29, 1790)


In recitations of the presidents, some people forget Millard Fillmore, some forget Chet Arthur, and some forget John Tyler — which should be amusing, because Tyler served much longer than the man on whose ticket he was elected Vice President, and who died making Tyler the President.

In any case, our 10th President, John Tyler, was born on March 29, 1790, 229 years ago.


A restored daguerreotype of John Tyler in his later years, between 1855 and his death in 1862. Tyler assumed the presidency in 1841, just four years after photography was popularly invented. Very few photos of him are known to exist, all in formal poses. Wikimedia image from the Library of Congress collection of photographs.

Tyler was elected Vice President on the ticket with the hero of the Battle of Tippecanoe, William Henry Harrison. Harrison caught cold perhaps during the inauguration on a cold March morning. The cold turned to pneumonia and Harrison died with just 31 days of service, on April 4, 1841.

No president had died in office before. There was some confusion about whether Tyler would simply hold the office until a new election, or take the presidency and fill out the term. Tyler’s political genius may have been in having himself sworn in as president quickly, quashing much of the debate before opposition could muster.

But Tyler, a Whig, fell out of favor with his own party. He served one term. Tyler opposed key Whig Party policies, it turned out, and he lost favor with Whig giant Henry Clay.

A Virginian, Tyler tried to get a compromise on secession before the Civil War, but failed. He died in 1862, a member of the Confederate States’ House of Representatives. (Was he the only past President or Vice President to join the Confederacy? We need some research.)

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3 Responses to Happy birthday John Tyler (b. March 29, 1790)

  1. Wishes sharing says:

    Happy Birthday Images Free https://www.wishessharing.com

    Like

  2. Ed Darrell says:

    Quick additional research shows Tyler to be the only ex-President to turn Confederate. I’ll wager there were many, other federal officials.

    The Washington Post said:

    By John Kelly
    February 24, 2013

    Who knew that John Tyler had so many fans? I heard from several of them after my column last Monday about a new book from the Smithsonian on presidential trivia.

    These Tyleristas did not take kindly to my assertion that Tyler was a traitor — or, as the Smithsonian puts it, that he was “the only president to commit a public act of treason against the U.S. government.”

    Here’s what appears on Page 180 of “The Smithsonian Book of Presidential History”:

    “As president in the early 1840s, Tyler, who was a native Virginian, supported many policies his party did not — states rights and slavery, to name two. Sixteen years after leaving office, when Civil War seemed inevitable, Tyler chaired a peace conference between representatives from the North and South with the goal of keeping the Union intact. When the peace efforts he spearheaded failed, Tyler embraced the Confederacy and urged fellow Virginians to join him. He was eventually elected to the Confederate Congress, which was officially at war with the country he once served.”

    That’ll do until more information surfaces.

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  3. Yes, more research may be in order!

    Like

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