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President without a Party: The Life of John Tyler

af Christopher J. Leahy

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"Christopher Leahy's "President Without a Party" is the first full-scale academic biography of President John Tyler since Oliver P. Chitwood's 1939 book, "John Tyler: Champion of the Old South." Leahy's work is a much-needed update and corrective to Chitwood's largely political and dated biography. That study and most of what has been written about Tyler since then largely neglect Tyler's personal life and his pre-presidential career. Also, until now, no author has satisfactorily explained the dynamics of Tyler's fight with the Whig Party during his presidency. Leahy's biography addresses all of those topics and is a much more complete account and explanation for Tyler's life and career. Leahy examines Tyler's early life in the Virginia Tidewater as the son of a Revolutionary politician. He details Tyler's career as an attorney and politician, from his entry into the Virginia legislature in 1811, through his stints as a congressman and senator, through his presidency (1841-1845), and finally to his efforts at the failed peace conference of 1861 and the Virginia secession convention. Leahy also analyzes Tyler's personal life, especially the relationships he shared with his two wives and fifteen children. In the end, he suggests that politics fulfilled Tyler most, often to the detriment of his family relationships. Besides filling in these gaps, Leahy's biography makes an original contribution to the fields of politics, family life, and slavery in the antebellum South. Moving beyond the simplistic explanation that Tyler was a merely a stalwart defender of the Old South, as Oliver Chitwood argued many years ago, Leahy offers a nuanced argument which demonstrates that Tyler was not a rigid ideologue and that as president he favored a middle-of-the-road, bipartisan approach to problems, an approach on his part that previous biographers and historians have overlooked"--… (mere)
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"Christopher Leahy's "President Without a Party" is the first full-scale academic biography of President John Tyler since Oliver P. Chitwood's 1939 book, "John Tyler: Champion of the Old South." Leahy's work is a much-needed update and corrective to Chitwood's largely political and dated biography. That study and most of what has been written about Tyler since then largely neglect Tyler's personal life and his pre-presidential career. Also, until now, no author has satisfactorily explained the dynamics of Tyler's fight with the Whig Party during his presidency. Leahy's biography addresses all of those topics and is a much more complete account and explanation for Tyler's life and career. Leahy examines Tyler's early life in the Virginia Tidewater as the son of a Revolutionary politician. He details Tyler's career as an attorney and politician, from his entry into the Virginia legislature in 1811, through his stints as a congressman and senator, through his presidency (1841-1845), and finally to his efforts at the failed peace conference of 1861 and the Virginia secession convention. Leahy also analyzes Tyler's personal life, especially the relationships he shared with his two wives and fifteen children. In the end, he suggests that politics fulfilled Tyler most, often to the detriment of his family relationships. Besides filling in these gaps, Leahy's biography makes an original contribution to the fields of politics, family life, and slavery in the antebellum South. Moving beyond the simplistic explanation that Tyler was a merely a stalwart defender of the Old South, as Oliver Chitwood argued many years ago, Leahy offers a nuanced argument which demonstrates that Tyler was not a rigid ideologue and that as president he favored a middle-of-the-road, bipartisan approach to problems, an approach on his part that previous biographers and historians have overlooked"--

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