Cyclopædia of Political Science, Political Economy, and the Political History of the United States

Edited by: Lalor, John J.
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New York: Maynard, Merrill, and Co.
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Includes articles by Frédéric Bastiat, Gustave de Molinari, Henry George, J. B. Say, Francis A. Walker, and more.
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TYLER, John, president of the United States 1841-5, was born in Charles City county, Va., March 29, 1790, and died at Richmond, Va., Jan. 17, 1862. He was graduated at William and Mary college in 1806, was admitted to the bar in 1809, and served in the state legislature 1811-16 and 1823-5, in the house of representatives 1816-21, as governor 1825-7, and as United States senator 1827-36. All this time he had belonged to the extreme southern state-sovereignty school of politicians, and had quarreled with Jackson when the latter had undertaken to suppress nullification (see that title) in South Carolina. With the rest of this school he went into the conglomeration of factions, which, about 1836, took the name of the whig party (see that title), and in the election of that year received 47 votes for vice-president. In 1840 he was nominated for the vice-presidency by the whigs, for a double reason: he was a pronounced adherent of Clay, whom Harrison had defeated for the presidency; and he was also a pronounced believer in state sovereignty, so that his nomination would gratify the nullification wing of the party. Harrison's sudden death left the whigs in control of congress, but without the two-thirds majority necessary to override the vetoes of a president who was far more closely in sympathy with the democratic party than with that to which he nominally belonged. The result was an almost immediate quarrel between the new president and his party, which was never healed. (See WHIG PARTY, II.; DEMOCRATIC PARTY, IV.; BANK CONTROVERSIES, IV.; TARIFFS: INDEPENDENT TREASURY; INTERNAL IMPROVEMENT; CENSURES; CORPORAL'S GUARD.) Some little effort was made at the end of his term of office to give him the democratic, or an independent, nomination for a new term; but it was a failure, and he retired from politics in 1845, having completed the annexation of Texas. (See ANNEXATIONS, III.) In 1861 he reappeared as president of the peace congress at Washington. (See CONFERENCE, PEACE.) On the outbreak of hostilities he became an ardent secessionist, and was a delegate from Virginia in the confederate congress until his death.


—See Abbott's Lives of the Presidents, 274; Wise's Seven Decades of the Union. For the democratic view of his administration, see 2 Benton's Thirty Years' View, 211-631; 11 Democratic Review, 502 (at the beginning of his term); 16 Democratic Review, 211 (at the end). For the whig view, see Botts' History of the Rebellion, 75; 1 Whig Review, 334; 2 Colton's Life and Times of Clay, 355; Clay's Private Correspondence, 455-480. The most exact account is in 2 Von Holst's United States, 406. Tyler's messages are in 2 Statesman's Manual, 1337.


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