“Wealth can only be accumulated by the earnings of industry and the savings of frugality.”
John Tyler, 10th President of the United States, was the first Vice-President to step in for a President. He became President after the death of William Henry Harrison. He was a swift, decisive leader and helped the nation remain strong after Harrison’s death. He wasn’t always popular, though, and became known as the “President without a party.”
- John Tyler was born March 29, 1790 in Charles City County, Va.
- John Tyler’s father was Thomas Jefferson’s friend. Tyler grew up believing strongly in states’ rights.
- John Tyler attended William and Mary College. He later served in the House of Representatives and the Virginia legislature. He was governor of Virginia and a U.S. Senator. Tyler was known for being polite and soft-spoken.
- Tyler was a Democrat, but later became a Whig. He believed in strong state governments and limited federal government interference.
- John Tyler loved children. He and his first wife, Letitia Christian Tyler, had eight children. After she died, Tyler married Julia Gardiner Tyler. Together they had seven children, for a total of 15 children – the most of any U.S. President.
- Tyler and his second wife threw lively parties at the White House. Tyler played the violin while Julia sang. They introduced the polka, a fast dance that many people thought was undignified.
- The Whig party chose Tyler as vice-president mostly because they thought he could help them win the southern vote. They never thought he’d become President.
- When Tyler did become President, the Whigs didn’t like his choices. He vetoed a national bank law and made his own decisions. The Whig party kicked him out. His Whig Cabinet members all quit.
- During his Presidency, Tyler admitted Texas as a state.
- John Tyler died January 18, 1862 in Richmond, Va, just one and a half years after his last child was born. He was 71 years old.
Questions and Answers
Question: What were Tyler’s wives like?
Answer: Letitia Tyler, John Tyler’s first wife, was born and raised on a Virginia plantation. She didn’t receive a formal education, but was trained in the ways of keeping a large household. She was quiet, religious, and devoted to her family. A stroke left her paralyzed and she died in 1842, at the age of 51. She rarely attended state events, preferring to take care of her home and family, but was known for her intelligence and gentle nature.
John Tyler’s second wife, Julia, was very different than his first wife. Charming and pretty, Julia Tyler was born to aristocrat parents. As a young adult, she toured Europe where she was introduced to European royalty. Her family lived in Washington during the “social season.” Julia was 30 years younger than Tyler and younger than three of his daughters. People gossiped about the age difference. John and Julia eloped and were married in a church in New York City. Only 12 people attended their wedding.
Learn more about the 10th President of the United States here.