2 February 2013
John Tyler-10th President
Have you ever heard of the accidental president? Well that is exactly what John Tyler was. He was our 10th president of the United States. He started out as the vice president to William Henry Harrison, the 9th president. From what I know, Tyler was a pretty alright president. He was very good in foreign affairs and a very good speaker. Many people supported Tyler once he joined the Whig party. There are many points of interest to hit on John Tyler, but I will tell you about five points: Tyler’s family life, his political career, his way to the presidency, his actual presidency, and the end of his days.
John Tyler was born March 29, 1790, at Greenway, the family plantation on the James River about 30 miles southeast of Richmond, Virginia (Falkof). He was born to wealth, privilege, and public service (McPherson). He was the sixth child and second son of John and Mary Armistead Tyler. John Tyler, Sr., was a governor of Virginia and had been a roommate of Thomas Jefferson at the College of William and Mary. John Tyler was raised on a Virginia plantation overlooking the James River (McPherson). He attended an “old field school”. At age 12 he entered the grammar school division of the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va. Later he took the college classical course. He was especially interested in Latin, Greek, ancient history, Shakespeare, and poetry, and liked playing the violin (Falkof). He graduated at 17 and studied law at the prestigious Richmond Law firm headed by former U.S. attorney general Edmund Randolph (McPherson). At 19 he was admitted to practice and gained admission to the Virginia bar in 1809. That year, John's father became governor of Virginia. Father and son moved to the capital city of Richmond. The newly made lawyer easily gained a place with an elite firm headed by Edmund Randolph, the nation's first attorney general. But it quickly became plain that Tyler would not be satisfied with only a law career (“American President”). Legal and social success came easily to Tyler. He was slender and six feet tall, with blue eyes and light brown hair. His wit was quick and pleasant, his voice unusually musical (Falkof). He did many things throughout his life in politics. With Tyler’s popularity, he easily won election to the Virginia House of Delegates, which he entered in 1811, when he was only 21 years old (Falkof). Anybody who can do something like that at that age is successful. In 1813, he married Letitia Christian. Contemporaries often described Letitia as quiet and introverted. However, the wealth and political prominence of her family, the Christians, made her advantageous match for Tyler. Their marriage was apparently happy, but an 1839 stroke left her partially paralyzed, and she died in September 1842 during Tyler’s second year of presidency. Of their eight children, seven lived to see Tyler as president. Tyler sincerely mourned his first wife, but the fifty-two year old president was determined to remarry. After a socially acceptable interval, he began discreetly courting Julia Gardiner, the twenty-two year old daughter of a New York state senator. Their marriage-held in New York City on June 26, 1844-was kept secret until the newlyweds returned to Washington. Tyler’s flair for public speaking won him immediate attention. He was reelected four times; then, in 1816, he was elected a representative to Congress. In 1821, ill health kept him from seeking reelection. Tyler returned to politics in 1823. He won every office sought--- state representative, governor, and United States senator (Falkof). Tyler was more than just a well-connected planter’s son. He had strong ideas and convictions: He opposed a standing army and high tariffs, thought the Missouri Compromise such an abuse of federal power that he resigned from Congress in protest, and later abandoned the governship of Virginia because that...
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