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Tyler and Harrison

March 22, 2017

John Tyler was not the sort of man who would have been elected President in the first place.  He became President only after William Henry Harrison’s untimely death.  Tyler’s father had been friends with Thomas Jefferson, and Tyler himself had held many political offices; but despite being a member of the ruling class, Tyler was a man without a party.

Tyler was not really a Whig.  He did not favor Whig policy on protective tariffs or internal improvements or the need for a national bank.  He simply opposed the Democrats because of Jackson’s Unionist stand during the Nullification Crisis.  So, when Whig William Henry Harrison ran against Jackson surrogate Martin Van Buren, Tyler was happy to be on the ticket with Harrison.

Their campaign slogan was “Tippecanoe and Tyler too.”  “Tippecanoe,” because Harrison had been the commanding general in this famous victory.  “Tyler too,” because the Whigs hoped to attract Democrat votes in the South.  This worked, at least for the 1840 election.

Harrison was the first Whig to win a Presidential election.  Unfortunately for him and for his party, he served only one month.  When Congress sent Tyler legislation that would have accomplished the Whig platform, he vetoed what Harrison would have signed.

Because Harrison served so short a time, Tyler was President longer than anyone who had never been elected to the office in his own right.  For the Whigs in Congress it seemed even longer.

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One Comment
  1. hanspostcard permalink

    How about this- John Tyler has a living grandson– his name is Harrison Tyler.

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