Asked in History, Politics & SocietyHistory
What was john tyer most known for?
September 13, 2011 3:40PM
John Tyler, Jr. (March 29, 1790 - January 18, 1862) was the tenth President of the United States (1841-1845), and the first ever to obtain that office via succession.
A long-time Democrat-Republican, Tyler was nonetheless elected Vice President on the Whig ticket. Upon the death of President William Henry Harrison on April 4, 1841, only a month after his inauguration, the nation was briefly in a state of confusion regarding the process of succession. Ultimately the situation was settled with Tyler becoming President both in name and in fact, and Tyler took the presidential oath of office on April 6, 1841, initiating a custom that would govern future successions. It was not until 1967 that Tyler's action of assuming full powers of the presidency was legally codified in the Twenty-fifth Amendment.
Arguably the most famous and significant achievement of Tyler's administration was the annexation of the Republic of Texas in 1845. Tyler was the first president born after the adoption of the U.S. Constitution, and the only president to have held the office of President pro tempore of the Senate.
Harrison's death caused considerable disarray regarding Harrison's successor. The Constitution of the United States asserted only thatIn Case of the Removal of the President from Office, or of his Death, Resignation, or Inability to discharge the Powers and Duties of the said Office, the same shall devolve on the Vice President
which led to the question of whether the office itself which "devolved" upon Vice-President Tyler or merely the powers and duties of the presidency. The problem was exacerbated by the fact that Harrison had been a Whig and Tyler had been a career Democrat. Tyler asserted that he was now, in name and fact, the President of the United States. Opposition members in Congress argued for Tyler to assume a role as an acting caretaker that would continue to use only the title Vice President. Others said that Tyler should be acting president. But members of the Harrison cabinet, as well as some members of Congress, feared that an acting leader's ability to successfully run the country would be compromised. They supported Tyler's claim to the office, and Tyler took the presidential oath of office on April 6, 1841, confirming his becoming the first U.S. vice president to assume the office of president upon the death of his predecessor. It was not until 1967 that Tyler's action of assuming full powers of the presidency was legally codified in the Twenty-fifth Amendment.
Despite the fact that his accession was given approval by both the Cabinet and, later, the Senate and House, Tyler's detractors never fully accepted him as President. He was referred to by many nicknames, including "His Accidency", a reference to his having become President not through election but by the accidental circumstances regarding his nomination and Harrison's death. The rejection of Tyler went so far that he found himself accepted by no political party, making him one of only three Presidents (along with George Washington and Andrew Johnson) to have no party affiliation during part of his term.
Because of Harrison's faltering health and old age at the time of his election -- only Andrew Jackson, age seventy, had been older at the end of his second term -- the Whig Henry Clay was determined to become a "power behind the throne" and exercise great influence over the president who was also a Whig. The sudden death of Harrison and the ascencion of Tyler did not change Clay's ambition.Once Harrison was dead, Clay was even more determinded to hold sway over his successor. Amidst the constitutional uncertainties, Clay, "kept refering to Tyler as 'the Vice-President' and insisted that his administration would be more in the nature of a regency...[Tyler] quickly set the constitutional standard for later presidential successions by asserting that he was not merely "acting president" but had in fact acquired the full powers of the presidency...Tyler thundered at Clay: "Go you now, Mr. Clay, to your end of the avenue, where stands the Capitol, and there perform your duty to the country as you shall think proper. So help me God, I shall do mine at this end of it as I shall think proper. 
In 1842 the British author Charles Dickens called upon Tyler in the White House, writing that "he looked somewhat worn and anxious, and well he might; being at war with everybody - but the expression of his face was mild and pleasant, and his manner was remarkably unaffected, gentlemanly, and agreeable. I thought that in his whole carriage and demeanour, he became his station singularly well...."
For two years, Tyler struggled with the Whigs, but when he nominated John C. Calhoun as Secretary of State, to 'reform' the Democrats, the gravitational swing of the Whigs to identify with "the North" and the Democrats as the party of "the South," led the way to the sectional party politics of the next decade. Tyler was the first president to have a veto overridden by Congress, on a bill relating to revenue cutters and steamers. The override took place on Tyler's last full day in office, March 3, 1845.
The last year of Tyler's presidency was marred by a freak accident that killed two of his Cabinet members. During a ceremonial cruise down the Potomac River on February 28, 1844, the main gun of the USS Princeton blew up during a demonstration firing. Tyler was unhurt, but Thomas Gilmer, the Secretary of the Navy, and Abel P. Upshur, who had succeeded Daniel Webster at the State Department nine months earlier, were instantly killed. Julia Gardiner, whom Tyler had met two years earlier at a reception, and who would go on to become his second wife, was also aboard the Princeton that day. Her father, David Gardiner, was among those killed during the explosion. Upon hearing of her father's death, Gardiner fainted into the President's arms. Tyler and Gardiner were married not long afterwards in New York City, on June 26, 1844.
An anti-Tyler satire lampoons President Tyler's efforts to secure a second term against challengers Whig Henry Clay and Democrat James K. Polk. Clay, Polk, John C. Calhoun and Andrew Jackson attempt to get in as Tyler pushes the door shut on them. Uncle Sam demands that Tyler stop and let Clay in.
After Tyler vetoed a tariff bill in June 1842, the House of Representatives initiated the first impeachment proceedings against a president in American history. A committee headed by former president John Quincy Adams condemned Tyler's use of the veto. On January 10, 1843, a resolution introduced by John Minor Botts, of Virginia, charged "John Tyler, Vice President acting as President" with nine counts of impeachable offenses, including corruption, official misconduct, and other high crimes and misdemeanors. The resolution was defeated, 83-127.
In the elections of 1842, the Whigs lost control of the House (although they retained a majority in the Senate), and were therefore unable to pursue further impeachment proceedings.
In what is considered "a serious tactical error that ruined the scheme [of establishing political respectability for him]", Tyler appointed John C. Calhoun in 1844 as his Secretary of State. Calhoun, as Secretary of State, was responsible for the negotiations with Texas over its admission to the Union. The reason this is considered to be such an error, is Calhoun was an advocate of slavery, and his attempts to get an annexation treaty passed were resisted by abolitionists as a result. Martin Van Buren also worked, behind the scenes of American politics, to ensure the annexation treaty was not approved, in an attempt to avenge his loss to Harrison and Tyler in the last presidential election. Even with the support of Andrew Jackson for the treaty, the Senate of the United States failed to pass it. Tyler wanted the issue of the annexation of Texas to be the foundation of his re-election campaign, and consequently submitted an annexation bill to the House of Representatives, and to the Senate, and both subsequently approved it. Tyler signed the bill into law on March 1 1845, three days before the end of his term as President of the United States.
Tyler, ever at odds with Congress-including the Whig-controlled Senate-nominated several men to the Supreme Court to replace Justice Smith Thompson. However, the Senate successively voted against confirming John Canfield Spencer, Ruben Walworth, Edward King and John M. Read (King was actually rejected twice). Finally, in February 1845, with less than a month in his term, Tyler's nomination of Samuel Nelson was confirmed by the Senate. Nelson's successful confirmation was a surprise. But Nelson, although a Democrat, had a reputation as a careful and noncontroversial jurist.
Tyler was able to appoint only six other federal judges, all to United States district courts:
Judge Court Began service Ended service James Dandridge Halyburton E.D.Va. June 15, 1844 April 24, 1861 Elisha Mills Huntington D. Ind. May 2, 1842 October 26, 1862 Theodore Howard McCaleb E.D.La.
W.D.La. September 3, 1841 January 28, 1861
February 13, 1845 Samuel Prentiss D.Vt. April 8, 1842 January 15, 1857 Archibald Randall E.D.Pa. March 8, 1842 June 8, 1846 Peleg Sprague D.Mass. July 16, 1841 March 13, 1865
The Tyler CabinetOfficeNameTermPresidentJohn Tyler1841-1845 Vice PresidentNone1841-1845Secretary of StateDaniel Webster (W)1841-1843Abel P. Upshur (W)1843-1844John C. Calhoun (D)1844-1845Secretary of TreasuryThomas Ewing, Sr. (W)1841Walter Forward (W)1841-1843John C. Spencer (W)1843-1844George M. Bibb (D)1844-1845Secretary of WarJohn Bell (W)1841John C. Spencer (W)1841-1843James M. Porter (W)1843-1844William Wilkins (D)1844-1845Attorney GeneralJohn J. Crittenden (W)1841Hugh S. Legaré (D)1841-1843John Nelson (W)1843-1845Postmaster GeneralFrancis Granger (W)1841Charles A. Wickliffe (W)1841-1845Secretary of the NavyGeorge E. Badger (W)1841Abel P. Upshur (W)1841-1843David Henshaw (D)1843-1844Thomas W. Gilmer (D)1844John Y. Mason (D)1844-1845
Tyler's death was the only one in presidential history not to be officially mourned in Washington, because of his allegiance to the Confederacy. Tyler is also sometimes considered the only president to die outside the United States seeing that his place of death, Richmond, Virginia, was part of the Confederate States at the time. Tyler's favorite horse named "The General" is buried at his Sherwood Forest Plantation with a gravestone which 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 me blunder. Would that his master could say the same."
His first wife was Letitia Christian Tyler, with whom he had eight children (Mary Tyler (1815-47); Robert Tyler (1816-77); John Tyler (1819-96); Letitia Tyler (1821-1907); Elizabeth Tyler (1823-50); Anne Contesse Tyler (1825); Alice Tyler (1827-54); Tazewell Tyler (1830-74)). Letitia died in the White House in September 1842.
His second wife was Julia Gardiner Tyler (July 23, 1820-July 10, 1889), with whom he had seven children (David Gardiner Tyler (1846-1927); John Alexander Tyler (1848-83); Julia Gardiner Tyler (1849-71); Lachlan Tyler (1851-1902); Lyon Gardiner Tyler (1853-1935); Robert Fitzwalter Tyler (1856-1927); Pearl Tyler (1860-1947)). His granddaughter Julia Gardiner Tyler Wilson daughter of Lyon Gardiner Tyler, was one of the founders of Kappa Delta Sorority.
Tyler was a slaveholder for his entire life. John Dunjee claimed to be the illegitimate son of John Tyler, a child of Tyler and one of his female slaves. There was also a mulatto woman who frequently traveled with the Tyler family who was alleged to be the president's daughter.
As of 2008 Tyler has one grandson, Harrison Ruffin Tyler (son of Lyon Gardiner Tyler), who is still alive. Lyon Gardiner Tyler was born in 1853 and Harrison Ruffin Tyler was born in 1928. (See: "Tyler Genealogy" at the Sherwood Forest website.) 
Presidential Coin of Tyler
Tyler postage stamp