Thursday, November 06, 2008

The Ascendency of John Tyler: A Possible Unconstitutional Coup!

Does he look like an elf to you? Or a hobbit? Though those mythical creatures would never be slaveholders.
John Tyler! He was our first President born after the signing of the Constitution! In Virginia! He was a lawyer, a sickly man, a slaveholder, and had VERY potent sperm. He was the son of John Tyler, Sr., who served as Virginia's Governor before Jr. took a turn in the 1820s. JT, Jr. went to William & Mary, had stints in the military, state government, served in the House of Representatives, had some health issues, was elected Governor, then served in the Senate 1827-1836. He was the President Pro Temp or whatever, the only President to do so. After a lifetime as a Democratic-Republican, the Whigs recruited him for Vice President on the William Henry Harrison ticket in 1840. The campaign ran on a "Log Cabins and Hard Cider" platform, which I support. Except instead of "cider," I'd run a "vodka" campaign. People called Harrison Tippecanoe for some reason I don't remember and am too lazy to look up. Please, please, please go here or here and listen to some of the awesome campaign songs. Anyway, WHH was elected, got sick, and pretty much immediately died. This had never happened in America before. Nobody quite knew what the Constitution meant when it said that the powers of the office of the President were to "devolve" to the VP in this case. Some people thought he should just be a "caretaker" of the office, still holding the Vice title, or just become "acting" President. But Tyler's supporters thought he should just assume the full powers and office of the Presidency, 'cause otherwise he'd be, like, the Fake President. This move and those of the VPs who assumed the office to come were made retroactively constitutional by the 25th Amendment in 1967. But people still called him "His Accidency." The Panic of 1837 had left the country in economic disarray. Tyler was no longer really a Democrat, but neither would he make nice with the Whigs or Henry Clay. They totally Liebermanized him and he became a "Man without a Party." So totes unpopular. His first wife (with whom he had eight children) died in the White House in 1842. Wikipedia does not tell me why, but I assume it has something to do with all the John Tyler-fucking and childbirthing.
God, John Tyler loved Virginia.
After, like, the whole Cabinet resigned, Tyler made Southern Douchebag Extraordinaire John C. Calhoun his Secretary of State. This helped solidify the sectional divide of the parties in the antebellum period (Dem South, Whig North). THX for being such a dick, TyTy! Anyway, in 1844 he and some of his Cabinet were on some boat where a demonstrative cannon-firing went wrong, there was a freak explosion, and a number of people were killed. Including some guy whose daughter was on the boat. She fainted into the President's arms, and they were married a month later. Hot!! Oedpial! Sexy! Anyway, they ended up having seven kids. Also, John Tyler probably raped his slaves and had a few illegitimate children, possibly including escaped slave and Baptist minister John Dunjee. There were some riots in Rhode Island because people didn't want non-landowning white men to vote. Goddamn renting white men. Tyler decided not to interfere. I think. Go read the fucking article. Apparently it was a big deal or something.
JQ Adams, the only former President who condescended to go back to the House after his Presidency, led an attempt at impeachment. They claimed Tyler had abused the veto, what with all his vetoing (Also the first Prez to have his veto overrided!). Tyler annexed Mexico, leading to the Magical Efficient Presidency of James K. "Four-Point Plan" Polk and the Mexican-American War. Huzzah! There was some Missouri Compromise nonsense (which just put off the slavery question), four Supreme Court nominees got denied, and huzzah! Florida was admitted to the Union on Tyler's last day in office. John Tyler retired to a plantation that he renamed Sherwood Forest what with him being a Whig "outlaw." He tried to help prevent the Civil War right at the last minute, but like most Virginians, sided with the Confederacy at Secession and the outbreak of war. He served in their provisional House of Representatives, and later was elected to the actual Confederate House. Unfortunately, he died before being able to take office from probably a stroke. He got a town in Texas named after him (shoutout, Elissa!), but Washington D.C. never mourned him because he was a DIRTY REBEL TRAITOR. God bless us, everyone.

1 comment:

  1. I think there was some battle of Tippecanoe that Harrison fought in. Whatever, I bet it was lame.