John Tyler

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Tyler, John,

1790–1862, 10th President of the United States, b. Charles City co., Va.

Early Career

Educated at the College of William and Mary, he studied law under his father, John Tyler (1747–1813), governor of Virginia from 1808 to 1811, and was admitted (1809) to the bar. A state legislator (1811–16, 1823–25) and U.S. Representative (1817–21), Tyler was an unswerving states' rightsstates' rights,
in U.S. history, doctrine based on the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution, which states, "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
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 Democrat. He joined the condemnation of Andrew JacksonJackson, Andrew,
1767–1845, 7th President of the United States (1829–37), b. Waxhaw settlement on the border of South Carolina and North Carolina (both states claim him). Early Career

A child of the backwoods, he was left an orphan at 14.
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's actions in Florida and voted against the Missouri CompromiseMissouri Compromise,
1820–21, measures passed by the U.S. Congress to end the first of a series of crises concerning the extension of slavery.

By 1818, Missouri Territory had gained sufficient population to warrant its admission into the Union as a state.
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.

Governor of Virginia (1825–27) and a U.S. Senator (1827–36), Tyler reluctantly supported Jackson as the least objectionable of the presidential candidates in 1828 and 1832. Although he did not approve South Carolina's nullification act, he violently opposed Jackson's measures against it (see force billforce bill,
popular name for several laws in U.S. history, notably the act of Mar. 2, 1833, and the Reconstruction acts of May 31, 1870; Feb. 28, 1871; and Apr. 20, 1871.
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). The President's fiscal policies further alienated him, so that he was eventually drawn to the new Whig partyWhig party,
one of the two major political parties of the United States in the second quarter of the 19th cent. Origins

As a party it did not exist before 1834, but its nucleus was formed in 1824 when the adherents of John Quincy Adams and Henry Clay joined forces
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, joining its states' rights Southern wing, which differed with many of the nationalistic policies associated with the Clay leadership. He resigned from the Senate rather than abide by the instructions of the Virginia legislature to vote for the motion to expunge Henry Clay's censure of Jackson from the records.

Presidency

In 1840, Tyler was chosen running mate to the Whig presidential candidate, William Henry HarrisonHarrison, William Henry,
1773–1841, 9th President of the United States (Mar. 4–Apr. 4, 1841), b. "Berkeley," Charles City co., Va.; son of Benjamin Harrison (1726?–1791) and grandfather of Benjamin Harrison (1833–1901).
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, and they waged their victorious "Tippecanoe and Tyler too" campaign. One month after his inauguration Harrison died, and on Apr. 4, 1841, Tyler became the first Vice President to succeed to the presidency. His antipathy toward many Whig policies soon became apparent (he had never concealed it), and a rift developed between him and Henry ClayClay, Henry,
1777–1852, American statesman, b. Hanover co., Va. Early Career

His father died when he was four years old, and Clay's formal schooling was limited to three years.
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, the party leader.

After his second veto of a measure creating a national bank with branches in the states (on the grounds that it violated the constitutional rights of the states), his cabinet, except for Daniel WebsterWebster, Daniel,
1782–1852, American statesman, lawyer, and orator, b. Salisbury (now in Franklin), N.H. Early Career

He graduated (1801) from Dartmouth College, studied law, and, after an interval as a schoolmaster, was admitted (1805) to the bar.
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, resigned (Sept., 1841). Webster stayed on as Secretary of State until the negotiations for the Webster-Ashburton Treaty with the British were completed (May, 1843). Bitterly denounced by the Whigs and with few friends among the Democrats, Tyler became a President without a party.

Nevertheless he accomplished much toward the annexation of Texas. Abel P. UpshurUpshur, Abel Parker
, 1790–1844, American cabinet officer, b. Northampton co., Va. Admitted (1810) to the bar, he practiced law in Richmond, Va., and held state offices.
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, Webster's successor, was killed when a gun on the U.S.S. Princeton blew up, and John C. CalhounCalhoun, John Caldwell
, 1782–1850, American statesman and political philosopher, b. near Abbeville, S.C., grad. Yale, 1804. He was an intellectual giant of political life in his day. Early Career

Calhoun studied law under Tapping Reeve at Litchfield, Conn.
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 continued Upshur's negotiations for a treaty with Texas. The treaty was rejected by the Senate. Tyler then supported a plan for a joint resolution to annex Texas and had the satisfaction of seeing it accepted by Texas just before he left office in 1845. The completion of annexation was brought about under James K. PolkPolk, James Knox
, 1795–1849, 11th President of the United States (1845–49), b. Mecklenburg co., N.C. Early Career

His family moved (1806) to the Duck River valley in Tennessee and there, after graduating from the Univ.
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, Tyler's Democratic successor.

Later Career

Tyler, nominated by a small Democratic faction, had withdrawn from the 1844 election. In Feb., 1861, he presided over the unsuccessful conference at Washington that attempted to find some last-minute solution to avert the Civil War. Later, he served in the provisional Confederate Congress and was elected to the permanent Confederate Congress, but he died before he could take his seat.

Bibliography

See L. G. Tyler (his son), Letters and Times of the Tylers (3 vol., 1884–96, repr. 1970); biographies by O. P. Chitwood (1939, repr. 1964) and G. May (2008); studies by R. J. Morgan (1954) and N. L. Peterson (1989).

Tyler, John

(1790–1862) tenth U.S. president; born in Charles City County, Va. Trained as a lawyer, Tyler steadily ascended the political ladder, gaining the state legislature in 1811, the U.S. House of Representatives (1816–19), the Virginia governorship (1825–27), and the U.S. Senate (1827–36). Highly active as a senator, he maintained a states' rights position and resisted all attempts to regulate slavery; he resigned from the Senate to protest President Jackson's antinullification measures. Gravitating to the anti-Jackson Whigs, Tyler won election as Benjamin Harrison's vice-president in 1840, then ascended to the presidency on Harrison's death in April 1841. He soon alienated his Whig supporters by resisting a new national bank; at one point he had to lead the White House staff in holding off a violent mob, and in 1843 the Whigs even threatened to impeach him. Nonetheless, his term saw the Webster-Ashburton Treaty fixing the borders of the U.S. and Canada; he also encouraged the move to annex Texas. Long out of the public eye after failing to be nominated in 1844, Tyler headed a Southern peace mission to find a compromise to avoid splitting the Union in 1861. When that failed, he voted for Virginia to secede and was elected to the Confederate House of Representatives just before his death.