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Publisher's Summary

The first vice president to become president on the death of the incumbent, John Tyler (1790-1862) was derided by critics as "His Accidency." In this biography of the 10th president, Edward P. Crapol challenges depictions of Tyler as a die-hard advocate of states' rights, limited government, and a strict interpretation of the Constitution. Instead, he argues, Tyler manipulated the Constitution to increase the executive power of the presidency. Crapol also highlights Tyler's faith in America's national destiny and his belief that boundless territorial expansion would preserve the Union as a slaveholding republic. When Tyler sided with the Confederacy in 1861, he was branded as America's "traitor" president for having betrayed the republic he once led.

©2006 The University of North Carolina Press (P)2019 Tantor

What listeners say about John Tyler, the Accidental President

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Excellent as it Could Be

Having listened to nearly 200 Audible books l would give high ranks to this well written documentary that addresses difficult subjects & issues. The narrator was equally talented & fluid. I can’t imagine someone ranking this presentation low unless they were extraordinarily sensitive on the issues discussed, were not familiar with Presidential biographies, or were expecting some sort of Hollywood ride from an 1800s simple world. I salute the author & enjoyed becoming familiar with the issues at hand during this era. Especially about the annexation of Texas, the fact that Britain’s flag once flew over Hawaii, & Britain also attempted to take Texas on the grounds of preventing it from becoming a slave state. Now Polk’s Presidency falls into sync better with me having previously finished his biography. Well Done.

3 people found this helpful

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Terrible book :( Incredibly TEDIOUS.

I'm about 3 hours into it and I'm already so sick of it. It's not a biography at all. The author is basically trying to make points about what Tyler believed and who he really was, and endlessly skips around from Tyler's childhood, to his days in the congress, senate, VA governorship, and his presidency, quoting different people, and painfully (and very boringly) makes the same points over and over and over and over again. There doesn't seem to be any order of things, no logical building up from one thing to the next, just a wandering unorganized mind-numbing mess of a book. Also biased: he's already used the term "anglo-phobia" at least a dozen times. The term "phobia" suggests "fear or dislike without basis", yet from the nine (much better) presidential biographies I've already read, there was plenty of reason for many Americans at the time to dislike or distrust England (they had killed your friends or relatives in two different wars, armed unfriendly Indians with weapons, blockaded your ports, impressed your sailors, etc). Furthermore, the narrator is "perfect" for this author, sounding like a self-righteous know-it-all with an annoying lilt. Ugh... ... one week later, I've finished the book (only because it is the only John Tyler audio book available). While there were some better chapters, I'll stick with one star. He's just a biased, illogical author. At the end he claims JT was "inept", and there just isn't any evidence to suggest that. He actually was an effective politician and got a number of important things done. The author constantly criticized him for "wandering from his Republican principles", but every president (especially Jefferson) has done practical things that didn't completely line up with their previously-stated principles. Finally, the most annoying thing of all, the author seems to take it as a given that America is just an average country, and that when presidents like JT say "America is an example to the world", that's obviously just an dumb, arrogant statement, and he says the civil war proved it once and for all. Really? That we fought an extremely bloody war because half of our country was willing to die to free the slaves?? I would think that would be the BEGINNING, or confirmation of our example of true freedom, not the end of it?! This author is inept.

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Interesting Character

A relatively unknown President who had significant impact on the geographic shape of the country. Also his term without a vice-president included the situation where a tie-breaking vote in the Senate was almost needed for the annexation of Texas except for one Senator who flipped. How would the course of history have changed?