1841 - 1845
John Tyler was born in Charles City County, Virginia on March 29, 1790. He was one of seven Presidents from Virginia. His family's estate was called the Greenway. (He is the great uncle of Harry S. Truman.)
He was raised on a slave plantation.
John attended William and Mary College.
John Tyler had two wives (Not at the same time!) Letitia Tyler and Julia Tyler
Tyler served in the military during the War of 1812.
He was a lawyer.
John Tyler was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates when he was only 21 years old. He also served in the U.S. House of Representatives and was a U.S. Senator. John was also governor of Virginia.
He had a library of over 1,200 books. Shakespeare was his favorite author.
Tyler had between 60 and 90 slaves on his plantation, Sherwood Forest, at different times.
John Tyler was a member of the Whig Party. However, when he became president he did not support the Whig party's desire for a national bank and higher tariffs. He was denounced by Henry Clay and Whig newspapers.
He was on his knees playing marbles when informed that he had become president upon the death of President Harrison. (Some people say this is a tale.)
Since he was the first vice president to take office after a president's death he was regarded by some as the "accidental president." He moved quickly to say he was president not acting president.
John Tyler wanted to convince people he now had all of the powers of the presidency. So he had a federal judge give him the oath of office and gave an inaugural address. This act was later referred to as the "Tyler president." This was later confirmed by the 25th Amendment to the Constitution.
President Tyler was never elected President. In his attempt to get elected to a second term he had a biography written titled: Life of John Tyler. He then pressured post master he had appointed to buy and distribute copies of the booklet.
John Tyler didn't have a Vice President (a first). He had been William Henry Harrison's VP, and the position was not filled when Tyler assumed the presidency. He was the first Vice President to replace a President due to death.
John Tyler was the first President whose wife died while he was holding the office of the President.
Tyler was the first president to marry while in office. No U.S. president had more children. With 2 wives, Tyler had15 children.
John was the first President to get married on his birthday.
Library of Congress
His family had two Italian wolfhounds and a greyhound dog during the time they lived in the White House. He also had a pet canary called Johnny Ty.
The tombstone of he grave of his horse reads: "Here lies the body of my good horse "The General." For twenty years he bore me around the circuit of my practice, and in all that time he never made a blunder. Would that his master could say the same!"
President Tyler would often play his violin at White House parties. At one time he wanted to be a concert violinist.
In 1842, Charles Wilkes return from a four year mission surveying and exploring the Pacific Coast of North and South America. Wilkes also discovered Antarctica. He reinforced Tyler's goal of expansion of the U.S. into the Pacific.
On December 30, 1842, President Tyler his policy on Hawaii. His policy was later referred to as the Tyler Doctrine. It featured the U.S. protecting the Hawaiian Islands from foreign colonization and his intent to open trade with China. (Tyler expanded the Monroe Doctrine to the islands in the Pacific.)
On July 3, 1844, U.S. Commissioner Cushing signed the first U.S. Treaty with China. The treaty opened China ports to U.S. ships for trading. President Tyler was over joyed with this accomplishment.
Tyler's main goal as president was to annex Texas to the United States. Mexico had been at war with Texas for eight years. One of the obstacles to annexation was the issue of slavery. Tyler and other southerners wanted it to be a slave state.
Upshur, Secretary of State, did an outstanding job negotiating a treaty with Texas for annexation. He completed his wok in February of 1844. He didn't get to finish the task. He was killed in an accident on the U.S. Navy ship Princeton. A large gun called the "Peacemaker" exploded killing several people and injuring more. President Tyler was below deck and was not harmed. (Upshur was the third cabinet member to die while serving with Tyler.
On April 12, 1844, Tyler submitted a treaty annexing Texas to the United States. The Senate could not get a 2/3 vote for annexation.
After the 1944 election of Polk as president, Tyler sent a resolution to congress as a joint resolution to annex Texas. Since it wasn't a treaty he only need a majority of votes in the house and senate. The resolution passed.
On March 1, 1845, Tyler got his wish and signed the resolution to annex Texas to the U.S. Tyler signed the resolution with a gold pen that his wife, Julia, wore on a chain around her neck as a trophy.
President Tyler was the first president to have his veto overridden by Congress (March 3, 1845).
During his term in office Florida was admitted as a state in 1845.
He was the first president to have security protecting him. I consisted of four men who guarded the doors to the White House.
Tyler's second wife started the tradition of having "Hail to the Chief" when he appeared at state functions. (President Polk's wife also had "Hail to the Chief" played and it became a tradition.)
After Tyler left office the State of Texas named a city and county after him.
During the last two weeks of Tyler's time in office John and Julia Tyler hosed a series of dinners and parties.
Tyler wished to be remembered that he was the president that brought Texas into the union.
After leaving the presidency he spoke in favor of California becoming a free state even though Tyler supported slavery.
John and Julia where very upset with John Brown's raid and his call to slave to stage an uprising against their masters.
Immediately following the election of Abraham Lincoln, North Carolina withdrew from the union. Others southern states including Virginia succeeded.
He joined the Confederacy when the Civil War started. Tyler was elected to the Confederate House of Representatives. He died before taking his seat in that office.
During the war Union forces destroyed their summer home. Julia called the Massachusetts troops who destroyed the house "the scum of the earth."
Union troops latter ransacked Tyler's plantation, Sherwood Forest. Most of his possessions were broken or burned. General Wild the commander of the Black troops sent two canes and a secession flag to the north to sell for money to support the troops.
People considered him a traitor to the United Sates.
John Tyler died in 1862 in a hotel in Richmond, Virginia. Tyler is buried in Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond. His death was pointedly ignored by the Federal Government as a sworn enemy of the U.S. He was 71 years and 295 days old. His last child was born a year and a half earlier.
Tyler was the first president whose death brought no official response or recognition from the U. S. Government. He was an official of the Confederate Government when he died so no recognition was given. Many people thought of him as a traitor.
President Jimmy Carter restored Tyler's U.S. citizenship more than a century later.