I. The Accession of “Tyler Too”
The Whig leaders, namely
, had planned to control newly elected
William H. Harrison
, but their plans hit a snag when he contracted pneumonia and died—only
four weeks after he came to the White House.
The new president was
, a Virginian gentleman who was a lone wolf.
He did not agree with the
, since the Whigs were pro-bank and pro-protective tariff,
and pro-internal improvements, but hailing from the South, he was not. Tyler was really more of a
II. John Tyler: A President Without a Party
After their victory, the Whigs unveiled their platform for America:
Financial reform would come in the form of a law ending the independent treasury system; Tyler
agreeably signed it.
A new bill for a new Bank of the U.S. was on the table, but Clay didn’t try hard enough to
conciliate with Tyler and get it passed, and it was vetoed.
Whig extremists now started to call Tyler “his accidency.”
His entire cabinet resigned, except for Webster.
Also, Tyler vetoed a proposed Whig tariff.
The Whigs redrafted and revised the tariff, taking out the dollar-distribution scheme and pushing
down the rates to about the moderately protective level of 1832 (32%), and Tyler, realizing that a tariff was
needed, reluctantly signed it.
III. A War of Words with England
At this time, anti-British sentiment was high because the pro-British Federalists had died out, there
had been two wars with Britain, and the British travelers in America scoffed at the “uncivilized” Americans.
American and British magazines ripped each other’s countries, but fortunately, this war was only of
words and not of blood.
In the 1800s, America with its expensive canals and railroads was a borrowing nation while Britain
was the one that lent money, but when the Panic of 1837 broke out, the Englishmen who lost money
assailed their rash American borrowers.
In 1837, a small rebellion in Canada broke out, and Americans furnished arms and supplies.
Also in 1837, an American steamer, the
, was attacked in N. and set afire by a British force.
Tensions were high afterwards, but later calmed; then in 1841, British officials in the Bahamas
offered asylum to some 130 revolting slaves who had captured the ship
IV. Manipulating the Maine Maps
Maine had claimed territory on its northern and eastern border that was also claimed by England,
and there were actually small skirmishes in the area (the “
” of feuding lumberjacks).