Tuesday, November 06, 2007

John Tyler, the Accidental President

by Edward P. Crapol

This one didn't quite fit the criteria for my presidential biography reading list. What I want is a complete biography that documents the person's entire life. Though Mr. Crapol does give the basic information of John Tyler's early life and career, this book focuses on the years of Tyler's presidency. But by the time I discovered it, I had already checked the book out, so I decided to forge ahead and read it. It's an interesting read, geared toward someone who has a basic knowledge of the era and Tyler's role in it. I really don't qualify for that, I suppose, but I was able to follow along. Mr. Crapol is trying to challenge the prevailing stereotypes of Tyler--a strict states' rights man, a conservative constitutionalist and an ineffective leader. He shows how, like many politicians, President Tyler's actions didn't always jibe with the ideals he proclaimed. Mr. Crapol also makes the case that while many have called Tyler ineffectual, he actually set many precedents that strengthened the clout of America's chief executive. (Don't know if that's a good thing necessarily....)

LibraryThing link

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