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President John Tyler, daguerreotype by Brady-Handy, ca. 1860

John Tyler, a proponent of Southern interests and states’ rights, served as a U.S. representative, governor of Virginia, and a U.S. senator before being elected vice president. As president, he vetoed a bill to recharter the Second Bank of the United States and a tariff bill. Members of Congress were outraged, and most of his cabinet secretaries resigned in protest.

Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

President John Tyler, daguerreotype by Brady-Handy, ca. 1860

President Tyler Strikes Out

President John Tyler’s presidency set a record for unsuccessful nominations for the cabinet (four) and Supreme Court (eight). Elected vice president, Tyler succeeded to the presidency when President William Henry Harrison unexpectedly died. Tyler had a contentious relationship with Congress, and his positions on tariffs and the national bank particularly alienated powerful senators. On the final day of the 27th Congress (1841–1843), the Senate rejected Tyler’s choice of Caleb Cushing for secretary of the treasury three times.

A president cannot assume the Senate’s deference to nominations to executive offices. In 1843 the Senate rejected President John Tyler’s efforts to make Caleb Cushing secretary of the treasury through repeated nominations.