John Tyler was the first vice president in American history to succeed to the presidency upon the death of an incumbent president (William Henry Harrison). In the 1840 presidential campaign Tyler, a Southern Democrat, ran with a northern Whig on the top of the ticket; he was chosen for political reasons rather...
John Tyler was the first vice president in American history to succeed to the presidency upon the death of an incumbent president (William Henry Harrison). In the 1840 presidential campaign Tyler, a Southern Democrat, ran with a northern Whig on the top of the ticket; he was chosen for political reasons rather than his suitability as a successor. Upon Harrison’s demise, most Whigs regarded Tyler as “His Accidency,” a usurper. Because the Constitution was vague about how to proceed in such circumstances, Tyler’s was a crisis of legitimacy. Yet, often imperious and tactless, he did not hesitate to assert, “I am president.” As president, he adopted a strong policy of rewarding his political friends and ignoring his foes.
Here we see him rewarding a newspaper editor who had stuck with him. Autograph Letter Signed as President, Washington, July 14, 1843, to Mr. Shearer. “Mr. Lambert who will hand you this has proven himself to be a true friend for 12 months past. He has been the Editor of a paper in Wisconsin which has openly and ably maintained our course. He is poor and I have agreed to say to you that if he can be provided for I should be grateful.”
The Lambert spoken of was Davis Lambert of the Wisconsin Enquirer, who is the only Lambert that shows up in “Guide to Wisconsin Newspapers”. Also helping to confirm this, Lambert’s paper closed in June 1843, shortly before this letter was written.
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