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John Tyler

10th President of the United States (1841-1845)

John Tyler portrait
John Tyler, President of the United States, 1844
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

The President of the United States serves as the head of the Executive Branch of our United States Government. Over forty men have been privileged to serve in this role.

The lithograph of John Tyler to the right was created by Swiss born lithographer Charles Fenderich, at times referred to as the Lithographer of American Statesmen.

It depicts Tyler as President of the United States and is signed by Charles Fenderich and dated either 1841 or 1844.

It is one of approximately 84 portraits executed by Fenderich in Wasdhington, D.C., between 1837 and 1848, before moving to the west coast with the California Gold Rush.

John Tyler, Jr. (1841-1845)
Date of birth: March 29, 1790
Birth place: Charles City County, Virginia
Mother: Mary Armistead Tyler
Father: John Tyler, Sr.
Education: College of William and Mary (graduated 1807)
Profession: Lawyer
Religion: Episcopalian
Marriage: March 29, 1813, to Letitia Christian (1790-1842); June 26, 1844, to Julia Gardiner (1820-1889)
Children: Mary (1815-1848), Robert (1816-1877), John (1819-1896), Letitia (1821-1907), Elizabeth (1823-1850), Anne Contesse (1825), Alice (1827-1854), Tazewell (1830-1874), David Gardiner (1846-1927), John Alexander (1848-1883), Julia Gardiner (1849-1871), Lachlan (1851-1902), Lyon Gardiner (1853-1935), Robert Fitzwalter (1856-1927), Pearl (1860-1947)
Political party: Democrat, Whig
Presidential term: 1841-1845
Nickname(s): "Accidental President;" "His Accidency"
Date of death: January 18, 1862
Place of death: Richmond, Virginia
Resting place: Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, Virginia
Source: The Whitehouse: Presidents. John Tyler 30 November 2009 <www.whitehouse.gov>
Source: Miller Center of Public Affairs, The University of Virginia. John Tyler 30 November 2009 <www.millercenter.virginia.edu>
Source: The National Portrait Gallery: The Smithsonian Institution. John Tyler 30 November 2009 <www.npg.si.edu>

John Tyler's presidency

  • April 4, 1841: After the death of President William Henry Harrison, Vice President John Tyler assumed the presidency. He was the first ever to do so, setting the precedent for presidential succession.
  • September 11, 1841: Tyler's entire cabinet, with the exception of Secretary of State Daniel Webster, resigned after Tyler vetoed a second bill for the establishment of a National Bank of the United States.
  • August 9, 1842: The signing of the Webster-Ashburton Treaty normalized U.S.-British relations by adjusting the Maine-Brunswick border, settling boundary issues around western Lake Superior, and resurveying numerous smaller borders.
  • March 1842: The Massachusetts Supreme Court established the legality of labor unions, including the right for workers to strike, in the case of Commonwealth v. Hunt.
  • 1844-1845: In the congressional elections, the Democrats gained a majority over the Whigs in the House of Representatives, while at the same time defended their majority in the Senate.
  • April 12, 1844: The Texas Annexation Treaty was signed by the United States and the Republic of Texas.
  • May 24, 1844: The first telegraph line in the United States was completed between Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, Maryland.
  • June 8, 1844: The Texas Annexation Treaty failed to gain the required two-thirds majority in the Senate amid controversy over the western expansion of the nation.
  • June 26, 1844: President John Tyler married Miss Julia Gardiner, becoming the first President to wed while in office.
  • December 4, 1844: James K. Polk was elected as the eleventh President of the United States on promises to "re-annex" Texas and "re-occupy" Oregon.
  • February 28, 1845: Congress passed a joint resolution (which only required a simple majority by both houses) submitted by Tyler to annex Texas. The Republic of Texas voted to accept annexation on June 23.
  • March 3, 1845: Florida admitted as a slave state, making it the twenty-seventh state in the Union.
  • March 4, 1845: James K. Polk inaugurated as the eleventh President of the United States.

Source: Miller Center of Public Affairs: The University of Virginia. John Tyler 30 November 2009 <www.millercenter.virginia.edu>

John Tyler's cabinet
Vice President: None
Secretary of State: Daniel Webster (1841-1843), Abel P. Upshur (1843-1844), John C. Calhoun (1844-1845)
Secretary of War: John Bell (1841), John C. Spencer (1841-1843), James M. Porter (1843-1844), William Wilkins (1844-1845)
Postmaster General: Francis Granger (1841), Charles A. Wickliffe (1841-1845)
Secretary of the Treasury: Thomas Ewing (1841), Walter Forward (1841-1843), John C. Spencer (1843-1844), George M. Bibb (1844-1845)
Attorney General: John J. Crittenden (1841), Hugh S. Legare (1841-1843), John Nelson (1843-1845)
Secretary of the Navy: George E. Badger (1841), Abel P. Upshur (1841-1843), David Henshaw (1843-1844), Thomas W. Gilmer (1844), John Y. Mason (1844-1845)
Source: Miller Center of Public Affairs: The University of Virginia. John Tyler 30 November 2009 <www.millercenter.virginia.edu>

John Tyler Presidential $1 Coin - Tenth President, 1841-1845

John Tyler Presidential Coin
U.S. Mint image

Born in 1790 to a prominent Virginia planter family, John Tyler was a lawyer by training. He served as a Virginia state delegate and governor, U.S. Representative, U.S. Senator and vice president for one month under William Henry Harrison.

Tyler became the first vice president to take office upon the death of the sitting president. At that time, the U.S. Constitution was not clear on succession, and his entire presidency was dominated by questions on the scope of his Presidential powers, earning him the nickname “His Accidency.” While many believed he should be recognized only as an acting president with limited powers, Tyler set an important precedent by assuming all the duties and powers of an elected president.

His independent streak caused him to lose favor with his political party, the Whigs, and practically his entire cabinet resigned in protest over his veto of a national bank bill. He championed the cause of Texas statehood, a controversial proposition at the time. After much political wrangling, he signed the bill annexing Texas just three days before leaving office after his defeat in the election of 1844. He retired to his Virginia home, Sherwood Forest, named to reflect his political “outlaw” status. He died in Richmond, Virginia, in 1862.

Coinage Legislation under President John Tyler

Act of March 3, 1843: This act regulated the legal-tender value of foreign gold and silver coins in the United States.

Act of April 2, 1844: This act prescribes the manner in which oaths may be taken by officers of the branch Mint.

United States Mint Directors appointed by President Washington

  • President Tyler did not appoint a Director of the United States Mint.

Letitia Tyler First Spouse $10 Gold Coin - First Lady (1841-1842)

Letitia Tyler First Lady Gold Coin
U.S. Mint image
Letitia Tyler First Lady Gold Coin (reverse)
U.S. Mint image

A genteel Southern lady, Letitia Christian Tyler was content to stay in the background tending to her children and household. She supervised the Tyler family's 1,200 acre plantation, Greenway, in Charles City County, Virginia, for many years.

Although Letitia Tyler was never able to assume the normal social duties of a First Lady because of her poor health, behind the scenes, she directed the entertaining and household management of the White House. She made only one public appearance while First Lady, at the wedding of their daughter, Elizabeth. She informally received important visitors, including authors Charles Dickens and Washington Irving, and enjoyed discussing current events with them. She died in September 1842, eight months after her daughter's wedding.

Reverse Design

Letitia Tyler's success in running their plantation gave husband John Tyler the freedom to pursue his political career. The reverse of the coin depicts Mrs. Tyler and her two oldest children behind their Cedar Grove Plantation, with the plantation building and fields visible in the distance. The Tylers were married here in 1813.

Source: The United States Mint: First Spouse Gold Coins. Letitia Tyler First Spouse $10 Gold Coin: First Lady, 1841–1842 30 November 2009 <www.usmint.gov>

Julia Tyler First Spouse $10 Gold Coin - First Lady (1844-1845)

Julia Tyler First Lady Gold Coin
U.S. Mint image
Julia Tyler First Lady Gold Coin (reverse)
U.S. Mint image

The young and vivacious Julia Gardiner Tyler took Washington by storm with her wedding to widower President John Tyler on June 26, 1844. Although she was First Lady for only eight months, she quickly made her mark. James Sanderson's song "Hail to the Chief" had previously been played in various settings to honor American Presidents, but Julia Tyler was the first presidential spouse to request that it be played specifically to announce the President's arrival on official occasions. It's a tradition that continues to this day.

Julia Tyler worked hard to support her husband's political agenda, especially for the annexation of Texas. Julia used her considerable charm to persuade Members of Congress, a Supreme Court justice and cabinet members to support the cause. After Congress voted in favor of annexation and the President signed the resolution, he handed the gold pen he used to Julia in honor of her efforts. She proudly attached the pen to her necklace and wore it on formal occasions afterwards.

Reverse Design

Julia Tyler introduced the polka at a White House social event, making it a national craze. The reverse depicts President and Mrs. Tyler together at a White House Ball.

Source: The United States Mint: First Spouse Gold Coins. Julia Tyler First Spouse $10 Gold Coin: First Lady, 1841–1842 30 November 2009 <www.usmint.gov>

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