Useful Notes: John Tyler

Doesn't it disturb anyone that your Vice President has a vested interest in your death?

"As Vice President, Tyler drowned President Harrison in an Executives Only bathing pond. Everyone suspected a Savage assassin, and Tyler assumed the throne of America, along with the empty husband/father position in Harrison's grieving family. Tyler's achievements were overshadowed by his apparent disbelief in witches, which lead to his transformation into one of the rare breeds of horse that Congress then had deemed fuckable by law. Strange time, huh?"
The Professor Brothers's liberal interpretation of Tyler's term as President

John Tyler: Doctor, I am going.
Tyler's doctor: I hope not, sir.
John Tyler: Perhaps it is best.
—John Tyler's Last Words.

John Tyler (March 29, 1790 — January 18, 1862) was the tenth President of the United States, the second from the Whig Party, and the first Vice President to inherit the Presidency. He served from 1841 to 1845, preceding James K. Polk and succeeded William Henry Harrison after the latter died only a month into his presidency.

Upon succeeding office, Tyler was nicknamed "His Accidency" by his detractors. He was a longtime Democratic-Republican who was elected to the Vice Presidency on the Whig ticket, so he was rather unpopular and had several disagreements with his former political supporters and had a tenuous relationship with his predecessor during his short Vice Presidency. Tyler declared that he was now the President rather than the Acting President. He vetoed several of the bills brought to the White House and, as a result, most of his Cabinet resigned and Tyler was eventually expelled from the party because he couldn't cooperate with them. In fact, the first presidential veto to be overriden by Congress was one of his. He's also the first president to have an impeachment attempt directed against him - the initial vote failed 83-127, so that's probably why you never heard of it. However, he was responsible for the annexation of Texas, which is something worthwhile. He signed the Webster-Ashburton Treaty with the United Kingdom (which resolved border issues between the U.S. and British Canada in the northeast, between Maine and New Brunswick), the Treaty of Wanghia with China (which gave America the same trade rights that the European powers were starting to get in China), and added Florida to the Union on the last full day of his presidency. After the South seceded, Tyler was elected to the Confederate House of Representatives but died before taking office.

He fathered eight children with his first wife, who died while he was in office, and remarried while he was president, fathering seven more children with his second wife (whom he married after her father was killed in front of both of them by an exploding experimental cannon and she fainted into his arms). The second Mrs. Tyler asked to be addressed as "the Presidentress" which didn't catch on. In addition to those fifteen legitimate children, there are rumors of him having an illegitimate child. According to The Other Wiki, two of his grandsons are still alive (born 1924 and 1928 respectively - their father, Lyon Gardiner Tyler, was born in 1853 when Tyler was 63 years old meaning that the younger of the two grandsons was born when Lyon was 74 or 75 years old).

Rasmussen Reports, an American polling agency, polled citizens on what they thought of each President in 2007, and 76% could not give an opinion on him. If this is any evidence, he's probably the most forgotten American President.

Real Life Tropes he embodied:

  • Didn't See That Coming:
    • The Whigs didn't expect William Henry Harrison to die in office, much less so soon that Tyler would serve nearly a full term on his own.
    • On that note, the drafters of the Constitution didn't expect that a President might expire before his term did, as the Consitution was pretty vague on a very important matter.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: He was referred to as "His Accidency".
  • Face-Heel Turn: A Whig-Democrat Turn, at least. The Whigs formed primarily in opposition to Andrew Jackson. When Tyler went from Vice President to President, Whigs found out they and Tyler had nothing in common except their hate for Jackson. As a result, when Tyler vetoed one Whig bill after another they kicked Tyler out of the party (and made the first ever attempt at impeaching the President in American history).
    • An even bigger Heel Turn happened when the South seceded from the Union leading up to the American Civil War. Tyler originally tried to lead a peace effort between the North and South, but when it failed he agreed to serve on the Confederate side. He had been elected to serve in the newly minted Confederate Congress, but died before taking the seat.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": The Whig party, when they realized that Tyler was not "Acting President", but President.
  • Spanner in the Works: I repeat—"He was a longtime Democratic-Republican who was elected to the Vice Presidency on the Whig ticket." He vetoed nearly every bill the Whigs sent him and was president for all but one month of a full term, the longest term of any President who wasn't actually elected to that office. note 
  • Succession Crisis: A rare republican example—prior to his predecessor's term, nobody knew exactly what would happen if a President was unable to fulfill his duties—perhaps the Vice President would fill in until the President recovered that ability. Problem was, William Henry Harrison was dead and his inability was permanent. Tyler's answer—that the Vice President would become President in his own right— was not good news for the Whigs.
  • Unexpected Successor: The Founding Fathers didn't seem to realize a successor to an office up for grabs every four years would be needed at all as the Constitution was rather vague on what would happen if a President was permanently unable to fullfill his duties. As it turned out, a successor was needed on nine different occasions. note 
  • Vindicated by History: only in one regard: setting the precedent for Presidential succession. It took the Twenty-Fifth Amendment to codify it, but Tyler set the rule. Most historians still rank his own term of office down at the bottom of the list.