John Tyler was born on March 29, 1790, in Charles City County, Virginia, to a prominent family. He graduated from the College of William and Mary in 1807 and began his legal career in 1811. Tyler quickly rose to political prominence, serving in the Virginia House of Delegates from 1811 to 1816 and in the United States House of Representatives from 1817 to 1821. In 1825, he was elected governor of Virginia.
Tyler’s political career continued to thrive, and he was elected to the United States Senate in 1827, where he served until 1836. During his time in the Senate, Tyler was a staunch supporter of states’ rights and strict constructionism, which often put him at odds with the Jacksonian Democrats. Because of these issues, he allied himself with the Whig Party.
Tyler was selected as William Henry Harrison’s running mate in the 1840 presidential election and was sworn in as vice president on March 4, 1841. Just one month later, Harrison died, making Tyler the first vice president to ascend to the presidency upon the death of a president.
Tyler’s presidency was marked by several important events, including the Webster-Ashburton Treaty, which settled the boundary dispute between the United States and Canada, and the annexation of Texas. Tyler’s support for the annexation of Texas led to his expulsion from the Whig Party, and he spent much of his presidency without a political party to support him.Tyler died on January 18, 1862.