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John Tyler by Gary May
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Tyler, our 10th President, had an interesting life but a disappointing presidency. He was a Virginian, slave holder, devoted states' rights enthusiast, and the first person to be elevated from Vice President following the death of a sitting President. He married twice, the second time to a woman 30 years his junior, and in all had 15 legitimate children. Although he tried to add his weight to those fighting against a Civil War, he voted for succession in the Virginia Legislature and supported the Confederacy. He is the only President not officially mourned in the Capital, because he was considered a traitor.

This particular biography is part of Schlesinger's American Presidents series, and it is one of the better ones. I recently read the volume on Martin Van Buren, which left me completely in the dark about him as a person. This volume, only 151 pages, gave me a good sense of the person and was a real pleasure to read. The author weaves the personal and political together to give the reader a good idea of what was going on at the time, how it affected Tyler and his family, and how he balanced the two. A very well-done overview. ( )
1 vote auntmarge64 | Apr 11, 2010 |
John Tyler became the 10th President of the United States upon the death of William Henry Harrison having been in office for only 1 month.

Tyler's time in office was filled with firsts of all kinds - he was the first man to take office after the death of his predecessor, first President married while in office, first President to have his entire cabinet resign because they disagreed with his policies, first President to be abandoned by the party that he represented at election. He was known for the numerous vetoes that he exercised and after leaving office, for voting for Secession and supporting the Confederate States of America.

John Tyler was not a popular President with either the people or the politicians of the day. His time in office was marked by the death of his first wife as well as constant battles with the Congress regarding policies. He was extremely proud of the fact that his administration was responsible for finally settling the border issues between Maine and Canada so that that the threat from Britain was eliminated.
This book wasn't very large but it did give sufficient information so that I can move on to the next president. ( )
  cyderry | Dec 20, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0805082387, Hardcover)

The first “accidental president,” whose secret maneuverings brought Texas into the Union and set secession in motion

When William Henry Harrison died in April 1841, just one month after his inauguration, Vice President John Tyler assumed the presidency. It was a controversial move by this Southern gentleman, who had been placed on the fractious Whig ticket with the hero of Tippecanoe in order to sweep Andrew Jackson’s Democrats, and their imperial tendencies, out of the White House.

Soon Tyler was beset by the Whigs’ competing factions. He vetoed the charter for a new Bank of the United States, which he deemed unconstitutional, and was expelled from his own party. In foreign policy, as well, Tyler marched to his own drummer. He engaged secret agents to help resolve a border dispute with Britain and negotiated the annexation of Texas without the Senate’s approval. The resulting sectional divisions roiled the country.

Gary May, a historian known for his dramatic accounts of secret government, sheds new light on Tyler’s controversial presidency, which saw him set aside his dedication to the Constitution to gain his two great ambitions: Texas and a place in history.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:42:03 -0400)

Traces the events of the tenth executive leader's presidency from his unexpected ascent after the premature death of William Henry Harrison and unpopular veto of a proposed Bank of the United States to his indirect role in promoting secession.

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