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John Tyler: 10th President

Updated on February 7, 2017
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Angela loves history and feels it is essential to our future to know the past. Without it, we are destined to repeat the past.

Portrait of President Tyler


Pre Presidency Life

John Tyler was born March 29, 1790 to a plantation owner in Virginia. He enjoyed writing and reading and even played the violin. He graduated when he was 17 from the College of William and Mary and practiced law by the age of 19. Later, from 1816 to 1821, he served in the House of Representatives and began to show his strong opinions and willingness to voice his objections, when he opposed the Missouri Compromise. After leaving the House, he served as the Governor of Virginia.

List of United States Presidents

1. George Washington

2. John Adams

3. Thomas Jefferson

4. James Madison

5. James Monroe

6. John Quincy Adams

7. Andrew Jackson

8. Martin Van Buren

9. William Henry Harrison

10. John Tyler

11. James K. Polk

12. Zachary Taylor

13. Millard Fillmore

14. Franklin Pierce

15. James Buchanan

16. Abraham Lincoln

17. Andrew Johnson

18. Ulysses S. Grant

19. Rutherford B. Hayes

20. James Garfield

21. Chester A. Arthur

22. Grover Cleveland

23. Benjamin Harrison

24. Grover Cleveland

25. William McKinley

26. Theodore Roosevelt

27. William Howard Taft

28. Woodrow Wilson

29. Warren G. Harding

30. Calvin Coolidge

31. Herbert Hoover

32. Franklin D. Roosevelt

33. Harry S. Truman

34. Dwight D. Eisenhower

35. John F. Kennedy

36. Lyndon B. Johnson

37. Richard M. Nixon

38. Gerald R. Ford

39. James Carter

40. Ronald Reagan

41. George H. W. Bush

42. William J. Clinton

43. George W. Bush

44. Barack Obama

45. Donald Trump

Tyler's Presidency and Fight Against the Whigs

When William Henry Harrison died early April of 1841, it was decided that John Tyler, who was Vice-President at the time, would become "Acting President." Tyler insisted that he should be given the full title, responsibilities, and powers. Soon he gave an Inaugural Address and became the 10th President of the United States. Unfortunately, due to his strong demeanor many disliked him, and he became known as "His Accidency," since he was never actually elected president.

Once president, opposition between him and the Whig party soon began. At the time of his Inauguration, both houses of Congress were ruled by the Whig party with Kentucky Senator Henry Clay acting as a strong influential leader. The Whig party believed that executive power became too strong when Andrew Jackson was in office and felt that the president should be guided in all their actions by their "constitutional advisers."

Tyler felt a very strong belief in adhering strictly to the Constituation. When Clay presented that he wanted to start a national bank, Congress having been primarily Whig members, passed the bill. Tyler felt this stood against the Constitution itself and vetoed it only ten days after it was passed. Congress came up with another banking system, Tyler vetoed that as well, which placed him at great opposition with not only Congress, but the Whig party that had elected him and Harrison. Only two days after he vetoed the second bill, all of his cabinet members resigned with the exception of Secretary of State Daniel Webster. He was then ousted from the Whig party.

Despite an inability to agree on the idea of a national bank, the whig party and Tyler did see eye to eye on several things and accomplished a lot before the party ousted him. They passed the "Log Cabin" bill that allowed settlers to claim 160 acres of land, paying $1.25 per acre, before it was offered for sale publicly. He also signed a tariff bill that protected northern manufacturers.

Unfortunately, bitterness from the banking vetoes still caused a lot of tension despite all the good they were able to accomplish. One year later, Tyler vetoed a tariff bill that caused an uproar and resulted in the first impeachment resolution to be introduced in the House of Representatives. John Quincy Adams headed a committee that reported that the President had misused his veto power. The impeachment resolution eventually failed.

Despite the drama that filled Congress and the Presidential office during this time, Tyler accomplished a lot. He successfully ended war with the Seminole Indians in Florida and entered into a treaty with China that allowed for trade between the two countries.

He suffered a great personal loss during his time in office, when his first wife Letitia Christian died from a stroke in 1842, being the first first-lady to die while her husband was in office. They had eight children together, one having died during infancy. While still in office, he married 21 year old Julia Gardiner, who became the youngest first-lady. He was 54 years old when they married. They went on to have seven children together, which meant that he fathered 15 children in all, the most of any president.

By the end of his term, he had replaced his original Cabinet that contained Whig members with southern conservatives. In 1862, he died while serving as a member of the Confederate House of Representatives.

Official White Horse Portrait


Fun Facts

  • He was the first Vice President to become President after his predecessor died.
  • He was the first president to get married while in office. After his first wife, Liticia who was the first first-lady to die while their husband was in office, died, he remarried a year and nine months later to Julia Gardiner on June 26,1844 at a New York City ceremony. She became the youngest first-lady at 21.
  • First president to have the House of Representatives to bring an impeachment resolution against a president. This ultimately failed.
  • He sired more children than any other president, with 15 children. 8 from his first wife, and 7 from his second.

Excerpt from the History Channel

Basic Facts

March 29, 1790 - Viriginia
President Number
Whig and Democratic
Military Service
Volunteer Military Company
Wars Served
Age at Beginning of Presidency
51 years old
Term of Office
April 6, 1841 - March 3, 1845
How Long Served as President
4 years
Age and Year of Death
January 18, 1862 (aged 71)
Cause of Death
most likely a stroke

Tomb of John Tyler



  • Beschloss, M., & Sidey, H. (2009). John Tyler. Retrieved April 22, 2016, from
  • President John Tyler weds his second wife. (n.d.). Retrieved April 25, 2016, from
  • Profiles of U.S. Presidents. (n.d.). Retrieved April 25, 2016, from
  • Sullivan, G. (2001). Mr. President: A book of U.S. presidents. New York: Scholastic.
  • What are some interesting facts about presidents and first ladies? (n.d.). Retrieved April 22, 2016, from


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