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Monday, March 30, 2015

Happy 225th John Tyler!

If you ask people who their favorite all-time President is, you're almost always sure to get some kind of response..

Perhaps someone contemporary like Clinton or Reagan, or going back a few years like Truman or Kennedy..

And others may go the historical route and express their favorite President is Washington, Jefferson or Lincoln..

Well ours is John Tyler who was our 10th President and just so happened to celebrate his 225th birthday yesterday (Sunday) March 29th
~ Obama & Hillary in White House 'Blue Room' chatting as Tyler looks on..

We were going to get a cake and celebrate the event but its quite difficult fitting 225 separate individual candles on a cake much less blowing them out

He was not the most famous of Presidents and most historians, stuck-up politically correct people as they are, have judged Tyler's Administration harshly.   But they like most elite view life in a narrow prism

So as we honor the man by presenting ten interesting factoids about John Tyler's life, we will explain with brevity why we admire the man as our favorite.
1)  John Tyler was the first President to assume the role not based on election.

In 1840, Tyler of Virginia joined up as Vice Presidential nominee to support War of 1812 hero William Henry Harrison of Ohio as a means of balancing the Whig ticket (the Whig party ultimately collapsed a decade or so later then reformed as the Republican Party in the mid 1850's)

The 'Tippacanoe & Tyler Too' campaign was a success and in March 1841, Harrison was inaugurated.  During his inauguration speech he stood in cold rain for an hour without a hat, developed pneumonia and died one month into office.

Tyler was now President
But there was nothing specific in the Constitution at the time which automatically made Tyler the next in line and others assumed Tyler would simply hold the position until a new election was called.

So Tyler took it upon himself to rush to Washington, get sworn in and move into the White House before anyone had a chance to kick him out.   And "His Accidency" as many at the time called him, set the precedent for succession and even his opponents were forced to accept him as their President.

Just one of many reasons we admire Tyler's strength of will and individualism in a time when politicians were just as cowardly and devious then as they are at present.
2)  Tyler is the only President to not have a VP...

Had Tyler died in office, all that he did to secure the eventual line of succession we recognize today and made law with the 25th Amendment would have been for nought

New elections would have simply been drawn up.
3)  Tyler successfully vetoed the Second Bank of the US

The Bank of the US was a predecessor to what we all know and loathe - the Federal Reserve and the Evil, Greedy, Sinful bankers of the day had tried once before to get their centralized bank passed but President at the time Andrew Jackson vetoed it..

This angered the banking establishment so much at the time, they purposely triggered what is historically known as the Panic of 1837 which was really an economic depression.

So figuring this time with a Whig in office instead of a Democrat, these monsters would get their way...
Nope.

For though Tyler was a Whig on certain issues, he was more so a Democrat on important issues like finance/the economy, the rights of states vs a centralized government and embraced agrarian causes vs the industrial/Wall Street crowd.

This decision upset his cabinet so much, every member except one ultimately resigned.  Of course they were really Harrison's group but imagine anyone today with courage of conviction to risk losing the support of his own party in such a public display?
4)  Tyler annexed Texas paving the way for Mexican War

This was actually a wonderful thing and to this day has benefited the US immensely

Politicians at the time were on the fence on annexation because they didn't want Texas to become a slave state and ruin the balance of slave v free state in the Senate.   So like politicians today, they dragged their feet even after the defeat at the Alamo..

Tyler annexed Texas a few days before leaving office in 1845 and within a couple years the new President, James Polk declared war on Mexico.
Thanks to winning of the war, the size of the US territory grew by double including the land now known as Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, Utah and California..

Even more important, remember that gold was discovered in California in 1849..  Imagine if that was still Mexican land..  They would have greatly benefited and the US economically would have suffered.

So Tyler did a great thing which is why he is honored with the naming of Tyler, Tx.
5)  Tyler was the 1st President to face Impeachment proceedings

The Whigs in Congress were so furious to see their power usurped by Tyler through the banking veto and other blocking of legislation they were trying to pass, an official resolution for Impeachment was made introduced by resolution in mid 1842.

The motion ultimately was tabled until the next year where it failed to get enough votes but Tyler was so strong willed and fearless a leader, that he was able to provoke enemies in Congress to seek such a measure to remove him from office.
~ John Tyler in wax

6)  Tyler is the only US President to serve in the Confederacy

In 1861 after the first Confederate Congress was established, Tyler was appointed as one of Virginia's Representatives though being too ill to serve officially in that capacity.

Tyler died in January 1862 and his casket was draped with a Confederate flag.

Lincoln, being a petty, pathetic man did not acknowledge Tyler's passing, the only Presidential death not officially recognized by Washington
7) Tyler was first President who's First Lady passed away while in office... 

Tyler's first wife Letitia Christian Tyler suffered a paralytic stroke in 1839 that left her an invalid.

As First Lady, she remained in the upstairs living quarters of the White House coming downstairs just once, to attend the wedding of her daughter (Elizabeth) in January 1842.

She suffered another stroke later that year and passed away on Sept 10, 1842
8)  And the first President to re-marry while still President

Tyler then married Julia Gardiner who was 30yrs younger than the President in July 1844.. Ultimately she bore him 7 children to add to the 7 children which Letitia bore.

14 children:  Gotta admire such a verile President
9) What brought Tyler and his 2nd wife Julia together was USS Princeton Disaster of 1844

A ceremonial cruise down the Potomac River was held aboard the newly built USS Princeton on February 28, 1844, the day after completion of the original Texas annexation treaty. (ultimately it was delayed by another year due to this incident)

Aboard the ship were 400 guests, including Tyler and his cabinet, as was the world's largest naval gun, the "Peacemaker." The gun was ceremonially fired several times in the afternoon to the great delight of the onlookers, who then filed downstairs to offer a toast.

Several hours later, Captain Robert F. Stockton was convinced by the crowd to fire one more shot and at once an explosion was heard from above: the gun had malfunctioned.
Tyler was unhurt, having remained safely below deck, but a number of others were killed instantly, including his crucial cabinet members, Thomas Gilmer (Sec of State) and Abel Upshur (Sec of Navy) - both men died instantly.

Also killed or mortally wounded was Rep. David Gardiner of New York, which had a devastating effect on his daughter, Julia, who fainted and was carried to safety by the President himself.  Julia later recovered from her grief and fell in love with and married Tyler
~ Lyon Tyler, Sr.

10)  Tyler has two living grandsons even though he died 153years ago...

The two living grandsons are through his son Lyon Gardiner Tyler.   Lyon was born in 1853 and 1924 when he was 69yrs old, he successfully impregnated his wife and Lyon Gardiner Tyler, Jr., was born.

A second son, Harrison Ruffin Tyler was born in 1928..

Both Lyon Jr (91yrs old) and Harrison (87yrs old) are still alive.