John Tyler

John Tyler

  • Ranked #39: Tyler had a terrible term in office with little accomplishment due mostly because many in Washington DC did not think he deserved to be president, (which included his cabinet who were originally selected by William Henry Harrison).
  • Summary: Tyler was the consummate Southern aristocrat. So much so that he did not seem to be comfortable in the company of people who worked for a living. He was a thin man with wavy hair, large ears, thin lips and a large forehead. He was the first President to ascend to the office as a result of the death of a sitting President.
  • Bio: When William Henry Harrison died, there was doubt in Washington, DC if Tyler would automatically succeed to the office. The Constitution was fairly ambiguous about this. Some interpreted it as simply having the powers of the President, not the actual office. Tyler stood his ground and rejected the suggestion that he was an acting President and remained in office. This of course didn’t sit well with Congress and as a result, he had a difficult time in office. It got so bad that he was called “His Accidency.”
    One thing about Tyler that was underestimated was that he, (unlike Harrison) was not going to be a pawn for the powerful people in his political party. Tyler also had no real allies in his own cabinet. It got to the point where he was asked to resign. He was a supporter of states' rights and was the only US President to be elected to the Confederate House of Representatives in 1862. Before his presidency, he was a lawyer, he was a member of the US Congress and was also a US Senator.
    Tyler had 15 children with two different wives. In fact, his second wife established that “Hail to the Chief” be played when the President enters a room. He was a good violinist and loved to hunt.
  • Pros: Tyler stood his ground and established that vice presidents would become more than just acting presidents when the elected president was not able to perform their duties. Opened up trade with China.
  • Cons: Got barely anything accomplished in office. Annexed Texas as a slave state. Vetoed nearly every bill Congress approved.
  • Born: March 29, 1790, Charles City County, Virginia
  • Died: January 18, 1862 (aged 71) Richmond, Virginia
  • Term: April 6, 1841 to March 3, 1845 (assumed term)
  • Political Party: Whig
  • Religion: Episcopalian
  • Education: College of William and Mary (graduated 1807)
  • Marriage: March 29, 1813, to Letitia Christian (1790–1842) & June 26, 1844, to Julia Gardiner (1820–1889)
  • Children: Mary (1815–1848), Robert (1816–1877), John (1819–1896), Letitia (1821–1907), Elizabeth (1823–1850), Anne Contesse (1825), Alice (1827–1854), Tazewell (1830–1874), David Gardiner (1846–1927), John Alexander (1848–1883), Julia Gardiner (1849–1871), Lachlan (1851–1902), Lyon Gardiner (1853–1935), Robert Fitzwalter (1856–1927), Pearl (1860–1947)
  • Career: Lawyer
  • Vice President: Office Vacant