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Books > Biographies & Memoirs > Historical > United States > 0807830410
  1. John Tyler, the Accidental President
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  2. John Tyler, the Accidental President

    Delivery: 10-20 Working Days
    Customer Ratings (35 reviews)
    Price R1012.00

Additional Information

The first vice president to become president on the death of the incumbent, John Tyler (1790-1862) was derided by critics as "His Accidency." Yet he proved to be a bold leader who used the malleable executive system to his advantage. In this biography of the tenth President of the United States, Edward P. Crapol challenges previous depictions of Tyler as a die-hard advocate of states' rights, limited government, and a strict interpretation of the Constitution.

In pursuit of his agenda, Crapol argues, Tyler exploited executive prerogatives and manipulated constitutional requirements in ways that violated his professed allegiance to a strict interpretation of the Constitution. He set precedents that his successors in the White House invoked to create an American empire and expand presidential power.

Crapol also highlights Tyler's enduring faith in America's national destiny and his belief that boundless territorial expansion would preserve the Union as a slaveholding republic. When Tyler, a Virginian, opted for secession and the Confederacy in 1861, he was stigmatized as America's "traitor" president for having betrayed the republic he once led. As Crapol demonstrates, Tyler's story anticipates the modern imperial presidency in all its power and grandeur, as well as its darker side.

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Edward P. Crapol
The University of North Carolina Press
The University of North Carolina Press
The University of North Carolina Press
The University of North Carolina Press
Most Helpful Customer Reviews

I eagerly awaited the release of this book for several months and purchased a copy as soon as it was available. Maybe my expectations were out of whack, but I was a little disappointed.

It was well-written and had some good analysis of a much (and somewhat unfairly) maligned president, but I was expecting some NEW analysis or NEW scholarship regarding President Tyler. To me, this just seemed like a slightly updated version of Oliver Chitwood's (still) definitive biography of Tyler. I was hoping Crapol would replace Chitwood as THE word on Tyler, but he didn't.

At 283 pages, this is not a definitive biography. It details Tyler's personal and family life only briefly, focusing heavily on his public life. Whereas Chitwood's premise was that Tyler was steadfast in his championing of strict construction of the Constitution and Jeffersonian states' rights principles and no one should have been surprised or disappointed by his actions as president, which Chitwood... Read more
I am currently reading a biography of every President in order. For John Tyler the selection is a bit difficult. From what I understand, the most definitive biography available is Oliver Chitwood's dated and overly apologetic "John Tyler: Champion of the Old South". Robert Seager's "And Tyler Too" is also fairly easy to find, although at 600 pages a little longer than I was desiring to read. Ultimately, I decided on Crapol's volume because it was recently written, of manageable length, and the only one available at the library.

Unfortunately, Crapol's book is fairly disappointing. First, it should be noted that this is by no means a "full scale" biography as the author claims in the acknowledgements. Tyler's life prior to the Presidency is given a drive by treatment that was much too brief for my tastes. The bulk of the book is devoted to Tyler's Presidency, but the organization is fairly poor with quite a bit of redundancy between chapters and Crapol frequently wanders far... Read more
John Tyler was referred to derisively as "The Accidental President." Why? He was the Vice-President elected as Old Tippecanoe, William Henry Harrison, became President. Within a shockingly short period, Harrison dies and Tyler became acting President. Since he was the first Vice President to ascend to the presidency, there were no precedents to guide him and the country. One of his major contributions was, simply, to take firm hold of the Presidency and act as if he were President.

This biography does a nice job of introducing us to one of the lesser known presidents of the United States. Edward Crapol, the author, believes that (page 3) ". . .[Tyler] was a stronger and more effective president than generally remembered." If one accept that sentiment by book's end, then Crapol has written an effective work. If one does not accept that conclusion, then this book, obviously, will not be compelling.

Tyler was one of those cross-pressured southern politicians... Read more
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