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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

John Tyler: Underrated President & Man Needed Today

We wanted to use today's post to continue on a theme discussed yesterday-- US Presidents.  But instead of focusing on the agreed 'great' leaders or one who was without doubt the most overrated, let's take a moment to focus on one of our most underrated...

Our 10th President --  John Tyler

Um, Who?!   Huh?!

Yes Yes, we just read your thoughts and No No, we're not possessed with any special clairvoyance...  And no worries-- it not your fault you know absolutely nothing about this man.

All the blame goes to your high school US history teachers, or should we say the assistant football and basketball coaches Hired as history teachers in order to be allowed to do the task they were solely capable of-- teaching children to shoot round balls into hoops..

So its completely understandable.

Then again, we bet you heard this phrase at some point in your life:

"Tippacanoe and Tyler too!"

What does it mean?  Heh Heh..  Not a clue?  Ha Ha...Does it refer to a boat?  Haw Haw!.. Smiles~ Its always good to chuckle when we don't know the answer to things..  (Tippecanoe was a battle in Indiana in 1811 where Harrison defeated the Indian chief Tecumseh)

The above mentioned is a political slogan for the 1840 Presidential campaign of William Henry Harrison and his VP running-mate, Mr. Tyler of Virginia.

The two men had absolutely nothing in common.  Harrison was a professional soldier who successfully pushed the Indians out of the Ohio-Michigan region while Tyler was an academic, acquiring a law degree at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg then moving up the Virginia political ranks to US Senator. (Back then Senators were appointed by state Governors and approved by the legislature-- today, we vote directly)

~ Interesting trivia tidbit: Tyler was the 3rd President out of our first 10 to attend William & Mary-- Jefferson and James Monroe (#5) being the others
Continuing.. Politically, the two men were as different as night and day with Harrison being a Whig which was the predecessor to the Republican party and Tyler being a Democrat.   But since Harrison was northern and Tyler was southern, and VP's had zero importance, he was selected to balance the ticket.

So the Harrison/Tyler ticket won... Yay!   And what happened next?

You remember this from history class we're sure --  Harrison decided on a very cold, rainy Inauguration day to give an extremely long-winded speech and cleverly did so without any covering or hat..  Most non-shockingly, he contracted pneumonia and died 30 days later, on April 6th, 1841.

OK, so we're finally at Tyler's Presidency which lasted just one month short of one full term (neither party backed him for re-election)..  What is it about this man pretty much no one's heard of that makes him worthy of writing?

We'll give brief bullet-points..
*  Before Tyler, there was no concrete process for establishing a successor once a President passes away or is otherwise removed from office.  Originally, it was thought Tyler would hold the title briefly, acting as a 'regency' until a new one could be elected via a hastily arranged election.

Tyler stood his ground-- he said HE is now President.  It didn't matter that others called him merely 'Acting' President... or his political opponents would send correspondence to the White House addressed as such or to the "Vice President".   Tyler had all such mail returned unopened.

Now we take the line of succession for granted.

*  Following the Panic of 1837 (triggered by restrictive lending by British bankers and speculative land purchases by greedy Americans among other things), Senator Henry Clay tried twice to push forth a national Bank of the United States, something Andrew Jackson spent most of his administration two decades prior successfully fighting to dissolve.
Think of the Bank as a precursor to the Federal Reserve, a most EVIL institution run and controlled by the banking elite for their own nefarious purposes which controls our money supply...

Thankfully, on two occasions Tyler vetoed the bill, infuriated many of the pro-Wall Street, pro banking Whigs who remained in Tyler's cabinet after Harrison's death... In protest, all but one resigned their positions.

In addition, the Whig Party officially threw Tyler out of their party, the Whig newpapers scolded him and he received many death threats by many money-hungry, enraged loons...   Tyler didn't care--he possessed what few to no politicians possess today.. Absolute Conviction and Total Fearlessness.

*  At the beginning of Tyler's administration, the US public deficit was at $11 million, which by today's standards seems paltry and laughably low.  Yet in 1841 it was a concern.
The Whig controlled congress refused to raise taxes above 20%  Tyler was insistent, it needed to be raised or the deficit would continue to grow.  Tyler once again stuck to his guns and ultimately a Tariff Act was passed which increased revenue collecting over that 20% threshhold

~ Are you seeing the difference between Tyler and the crop of crap Presidents this nation has produced over the last few decades?  Tyler was a man making decisions with no thought to re-election, political legacy or other self-aggrandizement...

He was the President-- it was his job to lead and he did.

Continuing...

* During his administration, he told Britain in no uncertain terms to stay out of the Hawaiian Islands, eventually beginning annexation.  He expanded US trade, particularly to China and the Pacific as well as Germany.  Tyler ended the bloody Second Seminole War with the Florida Indian tribe then ultimately signed into law Florida becoming a US state.
Most importantly when it came to foreign affairs, a couple months before leaving office, he had the guts to address the hot potato political issue of whether or not Texas should be part of the US or not?

Tyler signed a law annexing the state and thanks to him, it propelled a Mexican War that saw the US expand its territory beyond Texas into modern Oklahoma, Arizona, New Mexico, California, Nevada...etc...

~ Another interesting tidbit: Tyler annexed Texas in 1845, which provoked the Mexican war which ended in 1849.  Guess when gold was discovered in California?  Yes-- 1849.

So all that gold which was mined and dramatically propelled the US economy in the 1850s and beyond... Imagine if Tyler had not annexed Texas and no war..  Mexico would have had the gold and who knows-- millions of Caucasian Americans would be possibly fleeing for a better life south of the border...

Think about that a moment..
So that was the most concise and easy-to-understand summary we could present on John Tyler's Presidency..  He stood up to Congress, the entire Whig party, and told Wall St to go to Hell where they belong.. Name one person today who could have that Courage?

People say they want strong leadership... They want a President with courage, conviction, fearlessness, and fight...  Someone who won't back down.. won't be bought.. or swayed.. or held hostage by political expediency or egotism of more political or economic reward down the line..

No they don't.

Otherwise, we'd all elect far better men..

And we wouldn't think of John Tyler with a 'Huhh?... Who?'