JFK+50: Volume 5, No. 1911JOHN TYLER SWORN IN AS PRESIDENT 175 YEARS AGO
Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) One century and 75 years ago today, April 6, 1841, John Tyler* officially became the 10th President of the United States as he was sworn in to office following the death of President William Henry Harrison.
Tyler, a Virginian who supported states rights and slavery, became the first Vice-President to assume the office upon the death of the President. Mr. Harrison died of pneumonia on April 4, 1841, after only about a month in office.
Tyler, a life-long Democratic-Republican, joined the Whigs in 1840 and became the new party's nominee for Vice-President. After being sworn in as VP, Tyler returned to his home in Williamsburg, Virginia. It was there that he received word of the death of President Harrison.
Tyler, addressed as Vice-President Acting as President by his fellow Whigs, "insisted on being called President Tyler." He was also sometimes referred to as "His Accidency."
Harrison had appointed a strong cabinet, led by Daniel Webster, which attempted to control Tyler by having him agree to make decisions based on a majority vote of the cabinet. The new president refused. He said...
"I can never consent to being dictated to....I am the President...when you think otherwise your resignations will be accepted."
*John Tyler (1790-1862) was born in Charles City County, VA & attended William & Mary. JT joined a prestigious Richmond law firm & later served in the Virginia House of Representatives & as Governor. After leaving the White House, he was elected to the Confederate House of Representatives but died before taking his seat.
"To the Best of My Ability: The American Presidents," James M. McPherson, General Editor, DK Publishing Company, New York, 2001.