John Tyler : A President of Many Firsts
(Jane C. Walker)
John Tyler: A President of Many Firsts is a concise, lively, and well-illustrated biography of the tenth president of the United States. This book reviews many of the "firsts" associated with the life and presidency of John Tyler, and describes how the issues and conflicts of John Tyler's presidency affected the man and came to shape the identity of the new American nation.
John Tyler, the Accidental President
(Edward P. Crapol)
The first vice president to become president on the death of the incumbent, John Tyler (1790-1862) was derided by critics as "His Accidency." Yet he proved to be a bold leader who used the malleable executive system to his advantage. In this biography of the tenth President of the United States, Edward P. Crapol challenges previous depictions of Tyler as a die-hard advocate of states' rights, limited government, and a strict interpretation of the Constitution.
In pursuit of his agenda, Tyler exploited executive prerogatives and manipulated constitutional requirements in ways that violated his professed allegiance to a strict interpretation of the Constitution. He set precedents that his successors in the White House invoked to create an American empire and expand presidential power.
Crapol also highlights Tyler's enduring faith in America's national destiny and his belief that boundless territorial expansion would preserve the Union as a slaveholding republic. When Tyler, a Virginian, opted for secession and the Confederacy in 1861, he was stigmatized as America's "traitor" president for having betrayed the republic he once led. As Crapol demonstrates, Tyler's story anticipates the modern imperial presidency in all its power and grandeur, as well as its darker side.
Presidencies of William Henry Harrison and John Tyler
(Norma Lois Peterson)
Wearied by the hotly contested "Log Cabin and Hard Cider" campaign that unseated the Democratic incumbent, Martin Van Buren, Harrison succumbed to pneumonia after only one month in office, the first chief executive to die in the White House. His death precipitated a governmental crisis, which Vice President John Tyler promptly resolved--to the consternation of his Whig Party--by claiming the office and title of president, thus setting a precedent that only later was codified in the Twenty-fifth Amendment to the Constitution.
Instead of the pliable Harrison, the Whigs confronted in Tyler a tenacious defender of presidential prerogative and a formidable foe of their plan to establish congressional supremacy over the executive branch. Threatened with impeachment, repeatedly exhorted to resign, banished from the Whig Party, abandoned by his cabinet, and burned in effigy, Tyler stood firm and maintained the integrity of the presidential office.
Peterson argues that the Tyler administration deserves more credit than it has received for what was accomplished--and preserved--under difficult circumstances.