October 4, 2008

Whig Nostalgia, cont.: The Best Thing You'll Read About John Tyler Today

John Tyler (U.S. President 1841-1845) is memorable for the following reasons:

1.) The Whig V.P. was playing marbles when he learned of his promotion to the presidency. (President William Harrison died after only a month in office.)

2.) His wife, Julia, was the only First Lady who insisted on being called, “Mrs. Presidentress.” While living in the White House, Julia received guests while seated on a raised platform with a wreath of flowers on her head.

3.) As president, Tyler was vilified for being a flip-flopper. To illustrate, this detail from an 1844 cartoon shows a tiny Tyler being held aloft in a procession. The man holding him up complains, "Bedad, I can't carry you [Tyler] if you turn with every flaw of wind."

How willing was Tyler to reverse course? He was the only president ever elected to political office for both the United States and an opposing government: The Confederacy.

Fifteen years after leaving the White House, Tyler threw in his support with the rebels and was elected to a seat in the Confederacy’s newly formed House of Representatives.

Then he died. Bedad!
My sources are here.

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