Party Government in the United States of America

By William Milligan Sloane | Go to book overview

XX
THE REPUBLICAN PARTY 1841-1845

Death of Harrison--TylerPresident--His strict-construction firmness--Party loyalty meets popular approval--Restriction of slavery a question--The tariff of 1842--Rise of the Texas question --The national conventions--Course of a critical campaign-- Annexation of Texas--Features of the anomalous administration.

THE wide-spread conviction of Harrison's ability rests partly on what he showed during the campaign, which was considerable; and partly upon a legend constructed of pity and exasperation. In his inaugural address he suggested nothing beyond the standard Whig doctrine, condemning the use of the veto by his immediate predecessors, the use of public office for party purposes, and the arrogation of control over the currency by the Executive. He had selected a strong Cabinet, with Webster as Secretary of State, and was doubtless pondering admirable policies when he died on April 4th, having been President exactly a month. For fifty-two years no President had died in office, and the event electrified the country. Suddenly the true importance of the vice-presidency was recognized, and the question of how a successor made President by the act of God should consider his mandate as Executive almost instantly grew acute. Harrison was a loose-construction man; Tyler the reverse. One was entirely Northern, the other an extreme Southerner in feeling, an ultra or conservative Democrat of the

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