Our 10th President: 1841-1845
Just the Facts:
- John Tyler was the first president to serve without being elected.
- He was playing marbles with his kids when he found out that President Harrison died.
- His nickname was “His Accidency.”
- He had more kids than any other president – fifteen! He even had two sons named “John.”
- His second wife, Julia, loved to entertain and threw some lavish parties at the White House.
John Tyler grew up on a plantation in Virginia. He was one of eight children, and lost his mom when he was seven years old. When he was a child, he enjoyed hunting and playing his violin. He went to William and Mary and then returned home to study law. He followed his fathers footsteps into politics at both the state and federal level. He was governor of Virginia and represented Virginia in Congress.
John Tyler was William Harrison’s vice president. When President Harrison became sick and died, American found itself in a bit of a pickle. Does the vice-president become the president? Or just do the job, or act as the president? The cabinet members thought they should run the country, since Tyler wasn’t actually elected president by the people. But, John Tyler had his own interpretation of the Constitution – he decided that he actually became the president.
His biggest accomplishment as president was the annexation of Texas. It took almost 10 years after Texas won its independence from Mexico for America to admit Texas as a state. The reason was the need to keep the balance between states that allowed slavery and states that prohibited slavery. Finally, Harrison was able to negotiate a compromise and Texas was admitted as a slave state. Mexico wasn’t too happy – they never recognized Texas as being independent. In addition, Florida became a state while he was president.
Tyler was married twice. He first married Letitia and they had seven children together. They were very happy together, but Leticia had a stroke soon after Tyler became president. He met Julia a few years into his presidency and they fell in love at first sight. They married in the White House shortly before the end of his term, and had eight children together.
After his term was over, Tyler began to think that the south should secede from the Union. He spent the rest of his life supporting the confederacy. Because of this, his death wasn’t recognized by the federal government.
“Wealth can only be accumulated by the earnings of industry and the savings of frugality.”
“Let it, then, be henceforth proclaimed to the world, that man’s conscience was created free; that he is no longer accountable to his fellow man for his religious opinions, being responsible therefore only to his God.”
Want to learn more?
Take a virtual tour of his estate, Sherwood Forest, in Virginia at: http://www.sherwoodforest.org
Learn more at one of these websites: