Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Visiting John Tyler's Grave

Visiting John Tyler's Grave. Pictures Tyler's final resting place and tells of the Confederate-Union controversy surrounding his final years.

From the site:

Here I am at John Tyler's gravesite in Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia. See President Monroe's sarcophagus behind me? President Tyler's grave is located at the ridge of the same hill where Monroe was re-interred.

At the time of his death, Tyler had been elected to the Confederate Senate -- in effect, he was a leader of a government in rebellion to that he led as Commander in Chief, and so his Richmond burial was in land that at least he considered non-U.S. territory (the only such President). The fact that the Union won the Civil War allowed Lincoln's point-of-view -- that the Southern states never actually seceded -- to prevail, so even the nationality of his burial plot was denied him in the end.

A far more important piece of information about Tyler concerns his behavior when he became the first man ever to be ushered into the Presidency by the death of his predecessor. Contemporaries in government called Tyler "His Accidency" and were insistent that he was only the "Acting President" and that his powers in that role were limited and subservient to the Congress. Although the Constitution did not explicitly say so, Tyler was adamant that he succeeded to the office, including its title, duties, and responsibilities, when President Harrison died. We owe to Tyler's determined (and embattled) stand on this point the fact that every later Vice President who found himself elevated to the highest office in the land has been able to use all the powers and privileges necessary to the function of that office.

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