Monday, June 01, 2009

His Accidency Stood the Test

Tyler’s rise to the Oval Office caused great controversy regarding a question of succession after President Harrison’s death on April 4, 1841.

Previously here at American Presidents Blog, Jennie W posted His Accidency, a post about how John Tyler came to be the occupant of the White House. His Accidency was a nickname given to President Tyler by his critics due to the events that opened the Oval Office to him.

Over at History Is Elementary I’ve taken at look at little sidebar to the Tyler presidency called the Dorr Rebellion. You can obtain some background regarding the rebellion from my post here.

Through the process of researching the events that took place I discovered an exchange of letters between Governor King of Rhode Island and President Tyler. Governor King wanted Tyler to issue a letter that would convince the Dorrites (those demanding a new state constitution) that “in a contest with the governor of the state they would be involved with a contest with the government of the United States.”

During this time Tyler was not only having to deal with critics calling him His Accidency he was also attempting to establish a political base so that he could be elected president in his own right. He understood that he would need to tread lightly when involving the executive branch in state legal matters.

In his communications to Governor King Tyler encouraged calm and provided his opinion that more men should be allowed to vote in Rhode Island. Finally, Tyler advised he would only send in troops if violence occurred. He also sent an observer to Rhode Island to assess the situation.

This Britannica link provides text from one of President Tyler’s letter.

An essay at this site and part two of the essay provide more information regarding the communication between President Tyler and Governor King.

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