- Hardcover: 496 pages
- Publisher: American Political Biography Press; Revised edition (June 1, 1990)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0945707029
- ISBN-13: 978-0945707028
- Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.5 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 19 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #918,003 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
John Tyler: Champion of the Old South Revised Edition
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) is a service we offer sellers that lets them store their products in Amazon's fulfillment centers, and we directly pack, ship, and provide customer service for these products. Something we hope you'll especially enjoy: FBA items qualify for FREE Shipping and Amazon Prime.
If you're a seller, Fulfillment by Amazon can help you increase your sales. We invite you to learn more about Fulfillment by Amazon .
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Showing 1-4 of 19 reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Tyler had trouble financing his first trip to Washington as a Senator so he got rid of some property – a household slave named Eliza Ann. At first he tried to get a friend to buy her but when that didn’t work she had to go on the auction block. Chitwood mentions this as another anecdote about Tyler’s life with no commentary or conclusions. One could argue that Chitwood’s job is to present Tyler’s actions and way of life and that any negative commentary would go beyond biography. Yet, on the other hand, he has no problem in multiple places giving a positive connotation, clearly expressed through the language used, to Tyler’s actions and, according to Chitwood, his actions were virtually always due to Tyler’s integrity and nobility of character. If the reader reflects a bit, he or she will realize that there may well be other reasons for Tyler’s actions, many not as noble as the ones Chitwood gives. These actions include joining the Confederacy, again done for supposedly noble reasons. Chitwood claims that, if Tyler (or Virginia) had done things a little differently, Lincoln might have held off on war and the “invasion” of the South might not have happened. Most of this is pure speculation and the origin of the Civil War is simplified enormously. (Chitwood also does this by saying that Tyler’s actions on the tariffs and other economic acts while in Congress may have changed the economic situation the United States found itself in in 1939 – another highly speculative and simplifying claim.) While a biographer needs to be sympathetic to his or her subject, the constant repetition of Tyler’s nobility and integrity wears thin quite soon into the book. The reader needs to cut Chitwood some slack because of the different educational and cultural climate in 1939 but I am not sure if “slack” can excuse the lack of objectivity about Tyler in the book.
Crapol’s full biography of Tyler is much more objective about Tyler’s motives and Tyler’s character. But the best thing I have read on Tyler is Gary May’s short biography of Tyler in the American Presidents Series. May says at one point: “… Tyler began his Senate career with monies generated by the sale of a human being.” Perhaps facts like this say as much about Tyler’s motives as his noble and honorable defense of states’ rights, a claim Chitwood makes ad nauseam throughout the book. I recommend May or Crapol over Chitwood.
Tyler, however, knew what the Constitution (which he had sworn to uphold and defend, as all Presidents have to do) said was and was not permitted. He steadfastly obeyed his oath and refused to approve any law passed by Congress, no matter how popular the legislation and no matter how unpopular his veto would make him with Congress and with the Whig party, on whose platform he had been brought into office. These positions were not unknown by members of the party before he was nominated to become Vice-President, but members of the party for some reason thought that he would ignore his own principles and "tow the party line". Tyler, however, was brought up under the influence of Thomas Jefferson, who was a close friend of his father, and would not betray his conscience in regard to the text of the Constitution for anyone. This resulted in the lack of a political party to support him regularly for the whole of his presidency and no nomination for re-election, causing the end of his political career. He was in fact, however one of the most honest and upright Presidents to serve in the executive office.
It is a pity that historians tend to ignore presidents like Tyler who are true to their oath of office while lauding those who yield to the popular sentiments of the moment, calling the latter "great" despite their violation of heir oath of office and the trampling of the Constitution they perform while in office (think Abraham Lincoln).
I found this book to be a very interesting read and wish I could recommend it higher than just 5 stars. If only we had candidates for President of the caliber of Jefferson, Tyler, Pierce, Cleveland, and Coolidge these days!!!
Pros: Well-written, entertaining, fascinating subject, little competition (I am anxious to read Edward Crapol's new biography of Tyler which just came out!)
Cons: Author tried too hard to defend Tyler--going to extremes at times (it's one thing to say history has given Tyler a raw deal--I can buy that--it's another to say that all of Tyler's problems were solely a function of his strict adherence to his Jeffersonian principles even when politically inexpedient. I don't buy that); precious little is told about Tyler's private life, including his marriages and children; author engages in much speculation and frequently puts words (and ideas) in Tyler's head without substantiation (I understand that was common to biographies of that era).
Summary: Really good read on an all but forgotten and probably somewhat unjustly-maligned President, but there is definitely still an opportunity for someone to write THE definitive biography of John Tyler (unless Dr. Crapol has pulled it off already).