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Tyler and Jackson

April 12, 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.  Andrew Jackson had been elected and re-elected President by significant popular and Electoral vote margins.  His coattails extended even to the next election when his hand-picked successor became President.  When Jackson’s entrenched monetary policy ultimately failed, his successor lost re-election to the Whig Party ticket that named Tyler as Vice President.  However, Tyler and Jackson were mostly in agreement regarding the issues of the day.

Among these issues was the annexation of Texas.  So, when Tyler asked the former President to write a letter to Sam Houston, Jackson accepted the challenge.  He began by appealing to personal friendship.  “…I have been & still am your friend…Some of your enemies have been & are circulating [rumors]…that you are desirous to become closely allied to Great Britain.”  Of course, Jackson wrote that he had put down these notions, saying that Houston “could never become the dupe of England.”

Five days later Jackson wrote again.  Once again he appealed to personal friendship.  He also appealed to Houston’s pride.  “…if you will achieve this annexation your name & fame will become enrolled amongst the greatest chieftains… It will be an unfailing laurel in your ploom (sic).”

When Houston replied, he reiterated Texas’s desire to join the United States.  His main concern was the security of Texas during the negotiations.  What if the Senate should fail to ratify the treaty of annexation?  Texas would be left without a friend.  Jackson assured him “that 39 senators will vote for it.”  This was four more than needed.

However, when the Senate voted in June 1844, the treaty of annexation was rejected.  Jackson died the following June.  Tyler was out of office by then.  Although Texas had not yet officially entered the Union, Tyler and Congress had found a way to make that happen soon.






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