1790 - 1862
Wealth can only be accumulated by the earnings of industry and the savings of frugality... First Annual Address
John Tyler signaled the last gasp of the Old Virginia aristocracy in the White House. Born a few years after the American Revolution in 1790 to an old family from Virginia's ruling class, Tyler graduated from the College of William and Mary at the age of seventeen, studied law, and went to work for a prestigious law firm in Richmond. At twenty-one, Tyler had used his father's contacts to gain a seat in the Virginia House of Delegates where he began immediately fighting the Bank of the United States, which he opposed as a broadening of nationalist power. After serving an uneventful stint in the military during the War of 1812, Tyler won election to the House of Representatives and quickly became a Washington insider, seen frequently at Dolly Madison's posh parties.
Road to disunion: Secessionists triumphant
Historian William Freehling discusses the influence of secessionists leading up to the Civil War
Address upon assuming office of president
After the death of President William Henry Harrison, Vice President John Tyler assumes the presidency. He is the first ever to do so, setting the precedent for presidential succession.