John Tyler and the rhetoric of the accidental presidency

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Although John Tyler is largely forgotten, his presidency was notable for significant achievements in the face of overwhelming constraints. The legitimacy of succession to the presidency was untested, and Tyler lacked strong support within the Whig party. He managed to establish the legitimacy of presidential succession primarily by enacting the role, making liberal use of the veto and other checks and balances. He managed to resolve international conflict, especially with Britain, through diplomacy and discussion. Most notably, he brought about the annexation of Texas through a complex persuasive campaign emphasizing benefits to every section of the nation. Tyler was able to claim the 1844 election results as a mandate for the immediate annexation of Texas. These major achievements suggest that Tyler’s presidency warrants more attention than it has received.


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