Trump? January 6th? Yeah, that was ballzy. The champ tried to overthrow the U.S. Government. That puts him at the very bottom of the rankings of all-time U.S. Presidents just below James Buchanan and Andrew Johnson. But there is one guy that NO ONE talks about. This guy was Trump before Trump.
Now we all know that Trump would love nothing better than to run his own country with only his supporters. In fact, he never attempted to govern the whole USA. He made it clear in his American Carnage inaugural speech that his administration was aiming to destroy the USA. But he never actually officially aimed to declare he was President of the Confederates or formerly join their cause. But there was one ex-US President that did and his name was John Tyler.
On January 18, 1862, former U.S. President and Confederate congressman-elect John Tyler dies at age 71 in Richmond, Virginia.
Tyler, who was born in Virginia in 1790, served as a U.S. congressman and as governor of his home state before winning the election to the U.S. Senate. state during the 1830s. A Whig, Tyler became the 10th U.S. Vice President in March 1841. Within a month of his inauguration, President William Henry Harrison died in office and Tyler vaulted into the executive chair. The major achievement of his administration was the addition of Texas to the Union in 1845.
After his presidency ended in 1845, Tyler retired to his plantation, Sherwood Forest, in Virginia. His fellow Virginians called on the 70-year-old to head a Peace Convention in the winter of 1860-1861. This body tried to negotiate a compromise with the Republicans in the North in order to prevent a civil war. The attempt failed, as the Republicans were not willing to entertain any proposals that would protect slavery in the Western territories. Tyler was a delegate to the subsequent Secession Convention, and later became a member of the Provisional Congress of the Confederate States of America.
He felt that victory was impossible for the Confederates but nonetheless suggested that Confederate cavalry be dispatched to capture Washington, D.C. before the Union military was in place.
Tyler was elected to the permanent Congress of the Confederate States of America but died before he could take his seat. He was survived by his second wife, Julia, and 11 of his 15 children. Tyler was buried in Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond.
READ MORE: Why the Whig Party Collapsed
Why John Tyler May Be the Most Reviled U.S. President Ever
His party expelled him. His cabinet resigned. He was even hung in effigy on the White House porch. What made America’s 10th president such a political pariah?
If a Mount Rushmore for America’s most unpopular presidents is ever created, John Tyler would be a leading candidate to have his likeness carved into stone.
“Popularity, I have always thought, may aptly be compared to a coquette—the more you woo her, the more apt is she to elude your embrace,” said America’s 10th president. Playing hard to get, though, also failed to garner Tyler’s popular affection. The maverick president’s fiercely independent streak succeeded only in alienating politicians on both sides of the aisle.
Six years after Tyler left the Democratic Party over differences with President Andrew Jackson, the rival Whig party nominated the former congressman, senator, and Virginia governor in 1840 as William Henry Harrison’s running mate. After the victory of their “Tippecanoe and Tyler too” ticket, the 68-year-old Harrison became the oldest president in the country’s short history. Tyler, deeming the vice president’s duties largely irrelevant, returned home to his Virginia plantation.
Questioning Tyler’s legitimacy: ‘His Accidency’
Just 31 days after the inauguration, however, Tyler was stirred from his sleep by a rap on the door and given the news that Harrison had become the first American commander-in-chief to die in office. Upon returning to the nation’s capital, Tyler took the presidential oath, angering strict constructionists who argued that the Constitution only specified that, when a president died, the vice president would inherit presidential “powers and duties”—not the office itself. Former president John Quincy Adams wrote that Tyler was “in direct violation both of the grammar and context of the Constitution,” and eight senators voted against a resolution recognizing Tyler as the new president.
Those questioning Tyler’s legitimacy nicknamed the president “His Accidency.” Fellow Whigs would soon call him much worse.
The new president scoffed at his first cabinet meeting when Secretary of State Daniel Webster informed him that Harrison had agreed to abide by the majority decision of the cabinet on any policy matter—even if he was personally opposed. “I can never consent to be dictated to,” Tyler informed his cabinet. “I am the president, and I shall be responsible for my administration.” He made it clear he would neither serve as an interim “acting president” nor carry out all of his predecessor’s agenda, which included the re-establishment of a national bank and protective tariffs.
Excommunicated and hanged in effigy on the White House porch
This infuriated Whig leaders, in particular Senator Henry Clay. After Tyler twice vetoed Clay’s bill to re-establish a national bank, supporters of the senator forced open the White House gates, hurled stones at the presidential mansion, and shouted, “Groans for the traitor!” They hanged the president’s effigy—and then burned it on the White House porch for good measure.
Clay engineered a mass resignation of the cabinet with only Webster, who was in the midst of treaty negotiation, remaining. The Whigs excommunicated the president from the party and tried to evict him from the White House altogether after he vetoed yet another one of their bills. In July 1842, Representative John Botts of Virginia introduced the first impeachment resolution against a president in American history, accusing him of being “utterly unworthy and unfit to have the destinies of this nation in his hands.” The House approved an investigative committee’s report that condemned Tyler for “gross abuse of constitutional power” but declined to further pursue impeachment proceedings.
Expelled by the Whigs, then rebuffed in his attempts to return to the Democrats, Tyler became a president without a party. After his efforts to form a third party failed, he was forced to drop out of the 1844 presidential election.
The tragedy also seemed to stalk Tyler during his presidency. His wife, Letitia, died in 1842, and he was on board the USS Princeton on February 28, 1844, for a sail on the Potomac River when one of its cannons exploded during a ceremonial firing, killing six people including Secretary of State Abel Upshur, Secretary of the Navy Thomas Walker Gilmer and the president’s enslaved valet, Armistead.
On Tyler’s last full day as president, Congress gave him one final rebuke by passing the first override of a presidential veto in American history, on a bill that required legislative approval of any appropriation of federal money to build revenue cutter ships, predecessors to the U.S. Coast Guard.
Upon leaving the White House, America’s 10th president returned to his Virginia plantation where he owned dozens of slaves. Clay expressed his pleasure at Tyler’s departure and said the Whig political outlaw could return, like Robin Hood, to his Sherwood Forest. Embracing the gibe, Tyler changed the name of his plantation from Walnut Grove to Sherwood Forest.
Tyler sided with the Confederacy
In his post-presidential years, Tyler opposed limitations on the expansion of slavery and after the 1860 election of Abraham Lincoln wrote, “The day of doom for the great model republic is at hand.” As southern states began to secede, Tyler in early 1861 chaired an unsuccessful peace conference in a last-ditch attempt to preserve the Union. Once the Civil War began, however, Tyler voted for Virginia to leave the nation over which he once presided. He led the committee negotiating the terms of Virginia’s admission into the Confederacy and won election to the Confederate House of Representatives. He died, however, on January 18, 1862, before taking his seat.
A Confederate flag draped Tyler’s coffin as it was brought for burial to a Richmond, Virginia, cemetery. While bells tolled and flags were lowered to half-staff in the Confederate capital, silence greeted the news of Tyler’s death in the country he betrayed. Lincoln did not issue the customary official proclamation to observe Tyler’s passing, while the New York Times obituary noted that he had left the presidency as “the most unpopular public man that had ever held any office in the United States.”
Some of Tyler’s successors didn’t think very highly of him either. Harry Truman called him “one of the presidents we could have done without.” “He has been called a mediocre man; but this is unwarranted flattery,” said Theodore Roosevelt. “He was a politician of monumental littleness.”
Tyler hasn’t been rated highly in the eyes of historians, either. He was ranked in the bottom five presidents in C-SPAN’s 2017 Presidential Historians Survey, along with Warren Harding, Franklin Pierce, Andrew Johnson, and James Buchanan. What may have saved Tyler from the ranking’s bottom spot were his foreign policy achievements, including the signing of the Webster-Ashburton Treaty that formalized the U.S.-Canada border, negotiation of the first U.S.-China treaty, and securing congressional approval of the admission of Texas to the Union.
His most enduring mark on the presidency, however, was the “Tyler Precedent” that the vice president automatically assumes the office of the presidency after the death of a president. Seven subsequent vice presidents assumed the presidency following the demises of their predecessors until presidential succession was finally codified in the 25th Amendment, which was ratified in 1967.
Johnny Punish is the founder and owner of VT. He is also a writer, global citizen eco-activist, visionary, musician, artist, entertainer, businessman, investor, life coach, and syndicated columnist. Punish was educated at the University of Nevada Las Vegas (1980-81) and California State University Fullerton (1981-1984) with studies in accounting and business. Before the “internets” had been invented, he owned and ran (5) national newspapers in the United States of America from 1987-1998
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Tyler’s wife wrote an infamous and widely published essay praising the beneficial effects of slavery on its victims, denying they felt normal human emotion such as grief when families were seprated at the auction block.
The Crittendon Compromise, that 1861 so-called peace conference, was a sham: the rebels demanded total capitulation to all their proposals. The haughty Virginia aristocracy’s contempt for democracy runs through American history like a bad stink.
The major issue of the 1860 election was whether the uncontrolled expansion of slavery could be brought back under democratic oversight. Plank four of the GOP platform specifically guaranteed continued federal noninterference in slavery where it existed. Contrary to their endless victim propaganda, southern commercial interests dominated the federal government right from the start. In the Fugitive Slave Act, the Kansas-Nebraska Act, and the Dred Scott decision, they abolished every check the lobby had previously agreed on to regulate the extension of the slavery. American voters, however, made it unequivocal that this land was for homesteading only. The Republican Party formed in 1854 to restore a balance of power in Washington, not to end slavery. The cotton barons left the Union seven years later to pursue their agenda of westward expansion by other means: that’s all.
Very interesting. Thank you.
President Trump kept us out of war during his presidency and would have never given billions to Ukraine when Americans are suffering. All that money would have fixed the homelessness pr9bl3ms
An excellent article! I have family heirlooms from that era. I am keeping them too. Some good china, for example. What’s old is becoming new again.
If you write about Thomas Jefferson, now I could get unplugged about him.
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