Served: April 4, 1841 – March 4, 1845
Born: March 29, 1770
Birthplace: Charles City County, Virginia
Died: January 18, 1862
Political Party: Democratic-Republican (pre-1825), Democratic (1825-1834), Whig (1834-1841), Independent (1841-1862)
Spouses: Letitia Christian, Julia Gardiner
John Tyler: An Unexpected Presidency
John Tyler became the nation’s 10th president on the death of William Henry Harrison. Harrison’s death and Tyler’s subsequent adoption of all presidential duties, both of which came unexpectedly, caused Congress to pass the 25th Amendment and Tyler to become the first president to succeed another because of death before a term was finished.
After Tyler became president, his strong views opposing federalism and supporting “states’ rights” caused a rift between himself and both parties. He served one term and lost his re-election bid.
John Tyler’s Personal Life
From a young age Tyler took his education seriously, graduating from the College of William and Mary at 17. He then studied law with his father and was admitted to the bar at 19, which at the time was against regulation.
Tyler met his future wife Letitia Christian in 1808. They had seven children. Letitia Tyler died of a stroke during the Tyler presidency in 1842.
Little more than a year and a half later, John Tyler, 54, married again — to a 21-year-old woman named Julia Gardiner. The newlyweds went on to have seven children, bringing President Tyler’s total number of children to 14.
John Tyler’s Pets
- The General, a horse
- A pair of wolfhounds that President Tyler imported for his wife, Julia
- Le Beau, an Italian greyhound
- Johnny Ty, a canary that died shortly after they tried to pair him with a mate only to discover it, too, was a male
MORE PETS! Check out our photo gallery of selected White House pets
Tyler’s Backing of States’ Rights
Tyler began his political career at 28 as an elected official to the Virginia House of Delegates. During his time there, he made a name for himself as a supporter of “states’ rights” over federalism and for opposing the national bank.
Tyler went on to serve as governor, U.S. representative, and senator. In 1840 he was elected to the vice presidency under Harrison.
During his presidency, Tyler vetoed several Whig proposals, which eventually led to impeachment trials and allegations of wrongful use of the presidential veto. Additionally, the budget deficit was projected to reach $11 million during his term, which meant that Tyler would need to implement higher tariffs. However, he was in disagreement with Whig party politicians over the details.
Tyler retired from politics after losing his bid for re-election.
Did You Know…?
- Tyler, who became president during his vice presidential term for Harrison, had no vice president assigned during his time in office. Additionally, when he took the presidency, there were no governing regulations on proper protocol during a presidential death or illness. However, Tyler was immediately prepared to take the presidency, and he took the presidential oath in his hotel room upon arriving in Washington immediately after Harrison’s death.
- One of Tyler’s nicknames, often used by his detractors, of which he had many, was “His Accidency.” However, Tyler always felt that he had rightfully assumed the presidency and never acted otherwise.
- Tyler was the first president to have an impeachment trial brought against him, because of his veto of legislation supporting the national bank and tariffs. The impeachment resolution, introduced on July 10, 1842, brought charges against the president and called for a committee to investigate. In the end, Tyler was not impeached — but his reputation was tarnished.