And Tyler Too: A Biography of John & Julia Gardiner Tyler

And Tyler Too: A Biography of John & Julia Gardiner Tyler

And Tyler Too: A Biography of John & Julia Gardiner Tyler

And Tyler Too: A Biography of John & Julia Gardiner Tyler

Excerpt

This book does not pretend to be a definitive study of President John Tyler and his times (1790-1862). Nor, obviously, is it the last word on his wife, the vivacious Julia Gardiner Tyler (1820-1889). It is, instead, an attempt to humanize John Tyler and bring him out of the shadow into which history has cast him; to see him as his wife, his family and his intimate friends saw him, and as he saw himself. The book is therefore an informal social history of the Tylers and the Gardiners, two proud families who numbered in their midst many able and ambitious people. Not the least of these were the tenth President of the United States and his second wife. The backdrop against which the Tyler-Gardiner family alliance is viewed is the political and sectional history of the United States from 1810 to 1890.

Few Americans today know much about Tyler save that he was the "Tyler too" who ran for the Vice-Presidency on the ticket that elevated someone nicknamed "Tippecanoe" to the White House back in the distant reaches of the 1800s. That Tyler became the first VicePresident to succeed to power when an elected President died in office is also not as well known as it might be among contemporary Americans. Ironically, few American Presidents have so wanted to be remembered to posterity for their deeds. Yet John Tyler has become one of America's most obscure Chief Executives. His countrymen generally remember him, if they have heard of him at all, as the rhyming end of a catchy campaign slogan. Only one solid biography of him has appeared in the century since his death -- Professor Oliver P. Chitwood's fine study which was published twenty-five years ago. Unfortunately, it has long been out of print and is virtually unobtainable today.

When I began the research for this volume there seemed to be a place for a new evaluation of Tyler that, insofar as possible and practicable, would emphasize the human side of the man -- his fears, frus-

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