10th President 1841-1845
John Tyler was
the first vice president to ascend to the presidency upon
the death of a president. He was also the president with the
most children - 15.
Born in Virginia, Tyler was raised believing that the
Constitution must be strictly adhered to. He never waivered
from that conviction.
He attended the College of William and Mary and studied law.
Serving as a member of the House of Representatives
from 1816-1821, Tyler voted against most national
legislation and opposed the Monroe Doctrine. . He also
served as Governor of Virginia and as a US Senator. He helped form the
Whig political party. He joined the States Rights
Southerners in Congress who banded Henry Clay, Daniel
Webster and the newly formed Whig Party opposing President
Jackson. The Whigs nominated him for President in
Suddenly President Harrison was dead and Tyler was
President. He insisted on assuming the full powers of a duly
Tyler was ready to compromise on the banking question, but
Clay would not budge. Tyler vetoes Clay's bill to establish
a national bank with branches in several states. He
also vetoed a similar bill passed by Congress.
In retaliation, the Whigs expelled him from their party. All
the Cabinet resigned except Secretary of State Webster. One
year later, when Tyler vetoed a tariff bill, the first
impeachment resolution against a President was introduced in
the House of Representatives. A committee headed by John
Quincy Adams reported that Tyler had misused his veto power,
but the resolution failed.
Despite their differences, Tyler and the Whig Congress
enacted much positive legislation. The "Log Cabin"
bill enabled settlers to claim 160 acres of
land before it was offered publically for sale and
l later pay $1.25 per acre for it.
In 1842, Tyler did sign a tariff bill protecting northern
manufacturers, the Webster-Ashburton treaty ended a Canadian
boundary dispute, and in 1845 Texas was annexed.
The administration of the states rights strengthened the
Presidency. But it also increased sectional cleavage that
led toward civil war. Tyler replaced the original Whig
Cabinet with Southern conservatives. In 1844, Calhoun became
Secretary of State. Later these men returned to the
Democratic party, committed to the preservation of states'
rights, planter interests, and the institution of slavery.
Whigs became more representative of northern business and
When the first southern states seceded in 1861, Tyler led a
compromise movement. Failing, he worked to create a
He died in 1862 - a member of the House of Representatives.