John Tyler
Served 1841-1845 (became President upon the death of Harrison)

John Tyler was born March 29, 1790, in Charles City County, Virginia, at the Greenway Family estates.

On March 29, 1813, he married Letitia Christian. Together, they had eight children.

A popular politician in the 1830s with the nickname “Honest John,” Tyler was 50 when General William Henry Harrison, then 67, asked him to run as his Vice-Presidential candidate. Harrison, the hero of the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811, used the campaign slogan “Tippecanoe and Tyler, too.” Both were Whigs — the only two Whig Party Presidents.

Next PageWhen Harrison died in office on April 4, 1841, Tyler became the first Vice President to ascend to the Presidency. Shortly thereafter, Tyler was presented with his first bill to sign, over the title “Acting President.” He crossed out the word “Acting,” single-handedly creating the American tradition of Vice-Presidential succession.

Tyler served his term without a Vice President, since the 23rd Amendment to the Constitution providing for the new President to appoint a Vice-President was not passed until 1967. During Tyler’s term, slavery and states’ rights continued to be burning issues nationwide, and Florida became the 27th state to join the Union, but Tyler’s term was more marked by personal events. His first wife, Letitia, died while Tyler was President, and on June 26, 1844, Tyler married Julia Gardiner, becoming the first President to marry in office. Together, they had another seven children.

After his term in office ended in 1845, Tyler tried his best to prevent a Civil War between northern and southern states. In 1861, when his efforts did not succeed, Tyler sided with the South, the Confederacy. After the Civil War began, he was elected to the Confederate House of Representatives, becoming the only President to be voted into office by another government, but he died before he could serve in the Confederate government.

» White House biography

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