John Tyler: The Tenth Retrospective
“Whatcha got ain’t nothin new. This country’s hard on people, you can’t stop what’s coming, it ain’t all waiting on you. That’s vanity.” – Ellis, No Country for Old Men (2007)
President Tyler had served in both houses of Congress, and had been the governor of Virginia. He believed in states rights and felt strongly like Jefferson that too much power had been vested in the federal government. Also like Jefferson, he expanded that power once he became President.
I’m In Charge
Tyler assumed all of the powers of office after Harrison’s death, and he never named a Vice President. In his inaugural address three days later, he sent a message that he is the boss. Tyler believes that Congress should make policy, which gave off the impression of him being weak. This was a misconception for Tyler was his own man with own political agenda. A man without a party, Tyler was perhaps the nation’s first and only truly independent president.
Challenges To Authority
Tyler was known as “his accidency” or “his ascendancy”. Many people thought he was acting president until there could be a new election. Tyler’s cabinet, which was actually Harrison’s cabinet, tried to muzzle his policy proclaiming the cabinet would make policy decisions collectively.
Devastating To Whigs
Harrison had promised to pass Whig bills though Congress such as re-certifying the Bank of the United States, but Tyler didn’t share their view. The Whigs passed two laws authorizing a new national bank which were both vetoed by Tyler. After the second veto, the Whigs held meetings where they expelled President Tyler from the party.
Foreign Policy Achievements
Tyler signed the Webster-Ashburton Treaty on August 9, 1842 with Great Britain settling the disputed border of Canada which was still a British possession. He also signed the Tyler-Texas Treaty on April 12, 1844 with the new Republic of Texas after asking for a joint resolution of Congress after it was rejected by the Senate,
In spite of his achievements, Tyler always had sagging popularity. There really was no chance for a 2nd term for him because he had no Whig support by 1844 and Democrats didn’t really trust him. Those of you who bitch about party politics never being intended to be apart of the system were saying the same thing and not surprisingly being drowned out by 1844. Only 75 years into the birth of our nation, not aligning yourself with one of the two major parties was not viable in order to govern.
James Polk would follow John Tyler.
William Henry Harrison preceded John Tyler
It all started with George Washington.