“When a Christian people feel themselves to be overtaken by a great public calamity, it becomes them to humble themselves under the dispensation of Divine Providence. …” stated John Tyler in his first act as president, April 13, 1841.
President John Tyler continued his proclamation of a national day of fasting and prayer: “… to recognize His righteous government over the children of men, to acknowledge His goodness in time past, as well as their own unworthiness, and to supplicate His merciful protection for the future … the people of the United States of every religious denomination … according to their several modes and forms of worship … observe a Day of Fasting and Prayer by such religious services … to the end that on that day we may all with one accord join in humble and reverential approach to Him in whose hands we are, invoking Him to inspire us with a proper spirit and temper of heart and mind under these frowns of His providence and still to bestow His gracious benedictions upon our Government and our country.”
John Tyler was the 10th president of the United States. He was born March 29, 1790. John Tyler was the first vice president to assume the presidency when William Henry Harrison died after only one month in office.
In his first address, April 9, President John Tyler stated: “For the first time in our history the person elected to the vice presidency of the United States … has had devolved upon him the presidential office. … My earnest prayer shall be constantly addressed to the All-wise and All-powerful Being who made me, and by whose dispensation I am called to the high office of President. … Confiding in the protecting care of an ever-watchful and overruling Providence, it shall be my first and highest duty to preserve unimpaired the free institutions under which we live and transmit them to those who shall succeed me.”
President John Tyler continued Democrat President Andrew Jackson’s fight against the Bank of the United States, vetoing a bill to reinstate the Bank, Aug. 16, 1841: “An act to incorporate the subscribers to the Fiscal Bank of the United States … has been considered by me. … I can not conscientiously give it my approval. … I took an oath that I would ‘preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.’ … I could not give my sanction to a measure of the character described without surrendering all claim to the respect of honorable men, all confidence on the part of the people, all self-respect, all regard for moral and religious obligations. …”
Tyler continued: “Let the history of the late United States Bank aid us in answering this inquiry. … The immense transactions of the bank in the purchase of exchange … in the line of discounts the suspended debt was enormous and proved most disastrous to the bank and the country. Its power of local discount has in fact proved to be a fruitful source of favoritism and corruption, alike destructive to the public morals and to the general weal.”
Another Democrat who had vigorously opposed the Bank of the United States and “paper money” was U.S. Senator Thomas Hart Benton from Missouri. Thomas Hart Benton joined President Andrew Jackson in fighting the bank, though he had earlier shot Jackson in a duel: “Yes, sir, I knew him, sir; General Jackson was a very great man, sir. I shot him, sir. Afterward he was of great use to me, sir, in my battle with the United States Bank.”
In his second annual message to Congress, Dec. 6, 1842, President John Tyler stated: “We have continued reason to express our profound gratitude to the Great Creator of All Things for the numberless benefits conferred upon us as a people. … Such are the circumstances … lead us to unite in praise and thanksgiving to that Great Being who made us and who preserves us as a nation. … The schoolmaster and the missionary are found side by side.”
In Dec. 1843, in his third annual message to Congress, President John Tyler stated: “If any people ever had cause to render up thanks to the Supreme Being for parental care and protection … we certainly are that people. From the first settlement of our forefathers on the continent, through the dangers attendant upon the occupation of a savage wilderness, through a long period of colonial dependence, through the War of the Revolution … it becomes us humbly to acknowledge our dependence upon Him as our guide and protector and to implore a continuance of His parental watchfulness over our beloved country.”
President John Tyler settled the border between Maine and Canada. He pushed for years to have Texas admitted to the Union. The city of Tyler, Texas, is named for him. The annexation of Texas was completed during the term of the next president, James K. Polk, whose vice president was George Dallas.
Considering the federal government as having grown too powerful, taking away rights from the states, John Tyler joined the Confederacy, though he died before fighting began.
In his last annual message before leaving the presidency, John Tyler stated Dec. 3, 1844: “The guaranty of religious freedom, of the freedom of the press, of the liberty of speech, of the trial by jury, of the habeas corpus … will be enjoyed by millions yet unborn. … Our prayers should evermore be offered up to the Father of the Universe for His wisdom to direct us in the path of our duty so as to enable us to consummate these high purposes.”
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