John Tyler

Louis C. Kleber profiles the tenth President of the United States, 1841-5, who survived a charge of impeachment and acquired Texas.

Daguerreotype of John Tyler (Library of Congress)

John Tyler, Vice President of the United States, was at his Williamsburg, Virginia, home. The peace and beauty of that lovely area had been a haven from politics for the tall, sharp-featured lawyer.

On the morning of April 5th, 1841, he was playing with his two boys when an exhausted rider arrived. It was Secretary of State Daniel Webster’s son, Fletcher, with an urgent message from his father for the ‘Vice President’. Tyler stared at the dispatch in disbelief.

William Henry Harrison, the President of the United States and representative of the Whig Party, was dead after hardly a month in office. His habit of ignoring the weather had brought on the pneumonia that killed him, and now Tyler stood at the helm.

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