Archive for the ‘United States’ Tag

Portraits: Articles of Confederation   Leave a comment

The first constitution of the USA was titled “Articles of Confederation” and was in force between 1781 and 1788. It created a single house of Congress and no executive – but for one year during this period (1781-2), John Hanson served as “President of the United States in Congress Assembled.” Hanson was followed by Elias Boudinot (1783), Thomas Mifflin (1784), Richard Henry Lee (1785), Nathan Gorman (1786), Arthur St. Clair (1787), and Cyrus Griffin (1788). George Washington was the first President under the Constitution of June 21, 1788, ratified by 1790.

John Hanson - painting attributed to John Hesselius, c. late 1760s

John Hanson – painting attributed to John Hesselius, c. late 1760s

Portrait of Elias Boudinot by Thomas Sully

Portrait of Elias Boudinot by Thomas Sully

Thomas Mifflin

Thomas Mifflin

Richard Henry Lee. Portrait by Charles Willson Peale.

Richard Henry Lee. Portrait by Charles Willson Peale.


Nathaniel Gorman. Portrait by Charles Willson Peale.

Nathaniel Gorman. Portrait by Charles Willson Peale.

Arthur St. Clair - painting by Charles Wilson Peale.

Arthur St. Clair – painting by Charles Wilson Peale.

Cyrus Griffin

Cyrus Griffin

Posted January 29, 2016 by henrymowry in U. S. A.

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Bryce Canyon National Park   9 comments

Bryce Canyon NP 00Where Is It: 264 miles northwest of Las Vegas, or 269 miles south of Salt Lake City.

The Birth: From the National Park Service website for the Park:

The person most responsible for Bryce Canyon becoming a National Park was J. W. Humphrey. Mr. Humphrey was a U. S. Forest Service Supervisor who was transferred to Panguitch, Utah in July 1915. An employee suggested that J. W. view the eastern edge of the Paunsaugunt Plateau. When Humphrey came to the rim, at the point now known as Sunset Point, he was stunned:

“You can perhaps imagine my surprise at the indescribable beauty that greeted us, and it was sundown before I could be dragged from the canyon view. You may be sure that I went back the next morning to see the canyon once more, and to plan in my mind how this attraction could be made accessible to the public.”

J. W. Humphrey had still photographs and movies of the canyon sent to Forest Service officials in Washington D. C. and to officials of the Union Pacific Railroad. Magazine and newspaper articles were written. In 1916, Humphrey secured a $50 appropriation to improve the road and make the rim accessible to automobile traffic.

By 1919, tourists from Salt Lake City were visiting Bryce Canyon. Ruby and Minnie Syrett erected tents and supplied meals for over night guests near Sunset Point. In 1920 the Syretts constructed Tourist’s Rest a 30 by 71 foot lodge, with eight or ten nearby cabins and an open air dance floor. In 1923, the Union Pacific Railroad bought the Tourist’s Rest land, buildings and water rights from the Syretts. Ruby and Minnie established Ruby’s Inn just outside the park.

Gilbert Stanley Underwood was hired by the Union Pacific to design a lodge near Sunset Point. The original main building was finished by May 1925. Additions were made and the final configuration completed by 1927. The standard and deluxe cabins near the lodge were constructed between 1925 and 1929.

President Warren G. Harding proclaimed Bryce Canyon a national monument on June 8, 1923. On June 7, 1924, Congress passed a bill to establish Utah National Park, when all land within the national monument would become the property of the United States. The land was acquired and the name was restored to Bryce Canyon. On February 25, 1928, Bryce Canyon officially became a national park.

It Happened Here: 19th century Mormon settler Ebenezer Bryce, for whom the park is named, said it was “a hell of a place to lose a cow.” The canyon’s remarkable collection of whimsical hoodoo spires were believed by the early Paiute Indians to be people frozen in stone by the mischievous spirit Coyote.

Size: 37,277 acres

# Visitors: 1,385,352 in 2012. The largest attendance was in September; the least was in January. It’s the 14th most-attended Park.

Plants: There are more than 400 plant species in the Park. The variety in plant communities in Bryce Canyon National Park is due to its diverse topography. While it is surrounded by desert, Bryce’s plateau gets much more rain and stays cooler during the summer. The resulting ecosystem is a fertile island hundreds of feet above a vast arid landscape.

Animals: 210 species of birds and 17 species of reptiles and amphibians have been seen in the Park. 73 species of mammals are known to be in the park.

Choices: There aren’t a lot of day hiking options in the Park, but you can combine 2 trails to create a 3-mile hike with some rather spectacular geology. Queen’s Garden Trail connects to the Navaho Loop, and they take you into one of the main amphiteaters in the park. You’ll pass Queen’s Garden and Thor’s Hammer. Bryce Canyon National Park is known as a park you see from your car … but when you go hiking, you’ll see a different park.

Fees: $25 per car for a 7-day pass.

Staying There: The Bryce Canyon Lodge has 114 rooms, including suites, motel rooms and cabins. There are a total of 210 camping sites in two campgrounds in the Park. They are both at 8,000′ in elevation. Maximum RV length is 30′. There are showers.

Contact Info:

PO Box 640201
Bryce Canyon UT 84764-0201

Current Issues: In August, the bicycle race Tour Of Utah crossed the Park on Utah State Road 12. The Park was apparently not consulted, and former Park employees are emphatically against cyclists riding through a National Park … on a State Highway. The sky did not fall during the event, apparently, and the Park was undamaged by cyclists riding through on an asphalt highway.

Don’t Miss This: Drive to Rainbow Point (18 miles one way) and stop at the 13 viewpoints on your return trip. Check at the Visitor Center for current road conditions and closures.


National Park Service: Bryce Canyon National Park

National Park Traveler: Is National Park Service Abrogating Its Responsibility With The Tour Of Utah Bike Race?

Jason’s Travels: Driving The Rim Of Bryce Canyon


National Park of American Samoa   3 comments

American Samoa NP 00Where Is It: 2,300 miles southwest of Honolulu. It’s the only National Park in the southern hemisphere. Flights from Honolulu are scheduled for twice each week; flight time is 5-1/2 hours to get to Pago Pago, the capital city.

The Birth: Congress authorized the Park in 1988, but the culture of Samoa is for land to be owned communally, and as a part of the culture’s verbal tradition. In 1993, the Samoan village chiefs agreed to a 50-year lease for the land that is in the Park.

It Happened Here: A magnitude 8.0 earthquake created a series of four destructive waves that hit the Park on September 29, 2009. 32 people were killed on the islands by the waves. The Park’s visitor center was destroyed, and many cultural artifacts were lost.

Size: The Park is distributed across three separate islands: Tutuila, Ta’u and Ofu. 13,500 acres. 4,500 of those acres are coral reefs and ocean. The Park on the island of Tutuila is accessible by car; the other islands have no developed roads within the Park.

# Visitors: 10,440 visitors in 2012, a park record in its 11th year. November has the biggest attendance; May is the smallest.

Plants: A tropical rainforest covers most of the islands.  There are 343 flowering plants and 135 fern species in the Park.

Animals: The only native mammals are three species of fruit bats. Eliminating feral pigs is part of the Park’s mission; the pigs are non-native and harmful to the native ecosystem.

Choices: A side trip is to visit the Manu’a Islands, half an hour flight east of Tutuila Island. Known as the sacred islands of the Territory, their chiefs were the last to sign the Deed of Cession in 1904 handing over control to the United States of America. These lush tropical islands (three in total) are home to less than 2000 people with some of the most dramatic landscapes and the tallest peak, Lata Mountain standing at 3170 feet high. If you are up to the challenge, climb the steps to summit Lata Mountain.

Fees: There are no entrance fees.

Staying There: There is hotel-style lodging on all three islands; camping is prohibited in the park. There is a home-stay program with island residents that is a unique experience: visitors learn island culture up close and personal.

Contact Info:

Interpretation and Education Office
National Park of American Samoa
Pago Pago, AS 96799 USA
684-633-7082, ext. 22 phone

Current Issues: The protection and restoration of the native habitat continues to be a major focus of the Park’s resources. Nearly 100 Crown-of-Thorn Starfish were killed early in 2013, as they are a threat to the Park’s coral reefs. Last year, the Park partnered with a local village to remove all of the invasive tamaligi trees from the native rainforest. A second partnership resulted in an effort to eradicate another harmful invasive species, the pulumamoe, or rubber tree. Over 7,000 native tree saplings have been planted over the last 10 years within the Park.

Don’t Miss This: They call it a day hike: Tuafanua Trail.

Hike up switchbacks from VatiaVillage through lush tropical rainforest to a hidden coastline. At the ridge-top, enjoy ocean views before a steep descent on several ladders with ropes to a quiet, rocky beach and view of Pola Island.


National Park Service: National Park of American Samoa

Enjoying National Places   Leave a comment

The US Department of the Interior runs the National Park Service, which is currently charged with protecting our National Parks, National Monuments, National Historical Sites … and a whole lot of other national places. Here’s how Wikipedia describes them:

As of 2012, there are 401 units of the National Park System. However, this number is somewhat misleading. For example: Denali National Park and Preserve is counted as two units, whereas Fort Moultrie is not counted as a unit because it is considered a feature of the Fort Sumter National Monument.

It’s a complex puzzle, with National Preserves sometimes overlapping other areas — like National Parks or National Monuments. State Parks sometimes overlap National Parks. A rose by any other name … may still be a very pretty place. The National Park Service exists to protect and preserve some of our most beautiful, most significant, or most unusual national assets … so here’s a list of the different designations for the, uh, National Places.

International Historical Site: There’s just one, which is St Croix Island, located in Maine.

National Battlefield: The first of four designations for sites where historic battles were fought on American soil during the armed conflicts that shaped the growth and development of the United States. There are 11 of these.

National Battlefield Park: The second of four designations for sites of domestic American battles … there are four of these. They are Kennesaw Mountain NBP, Manassas NBP, Richmond NBP and River Raisin NBP.

National Battlefield Site: The third of four designations for sites of domestic American battles … Brices Cross Roads National Battlefield Site is very small, and the only area so designated.

National Historical Park: There are 46 of these historical sites, which feature more than the single building or feature that are called National Historical Site.

National Historical Reserve: There’s just one of these, Ebey’s Landing in Washington.

National Historic Site: These usually contain a single historical feature. Sites are owned and operated by the federal government. There are currently 90 of these.

National Lakeshore: There are four, located in Michigan, Indiana, and Wisconsin.

National Monument: There are 108 NMs, 80 of which are operated by the National Park Service.

National Military Park: The final of four designations for sites of domestic American battles … there are nine of these. The word “park” is used with the larger sites, it seems.

National Memorial: There are 28 NMs, plus five affiliated NMs that are not operated by the National Park Service.

National Park: There are 59 NPs. Ken Burns said it best: “America’s Best Idea.”

National Preserve: There are 18 National Preserves, which are very similar to National Parks. However, “resource extraction” is allowed from the National Preserves. That would include logging and mining, for example.

National River: Of the 15 rivers that are designated as units by the National Park Service, two have the simple designation of National River.

National Recreation Area: There are 18 NRAs.

National Recreational River: Of the 15 rivers that are designated as units by the National Park Service, two have the designation of National Recreational River.

National Reserve: There are three NRs. The first, designated in 1978, is New Jersey’s Pinelands National Reserve.  It includes portions of seven counties. It includes over one million acres of farms, forests and wetlands. 56 communities – from hamlets to suburbs – with over 700,000 permanent residents.

National Seashore: There are 10 of these.

National Scenic River or Riverway: Of the 15 rivers that are designated as units by the National Park Service, four have the designation of National Scenic River and two have the designation of National Scenic Riverway.

National Scenic Trail: There are three Trails that are a part of the National Park Service system. There are 18 Historic Trails that are not a part of the National Park Service System. All 21 are a part of the National Trails System.

Parkway: There are six National Parkways, and an additional four affiliated areas.

Scenic & Recreational River: Of the 15 rivers that are designated as units by the National Park Service, two have the designation of Scenic & Recreational River.

Wild & Scenic River: Of the 15 rivers that are designated as units by the National Park Service, three have the designation of Wild & Scenic River.

There are 11 other National Park Service units of various designations, notably including the Capitol Mall and the President’s Park adjacent to the White House.

Grant Tree Trail   3 comments

This 1/3 mile, paved loop trail takes you by the General Grant Tree and a picturesque grove of sequoias.

The General Grant tree is a spectacular 267′ tall: the third tallest tree on earth. Here’s the Wikipedia entry on the General Grant tree:

The tree was named in 1867 after Ulysses S Grant, Union Army general and the 18th President of the United States (1869–1877). President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed it the “Nation’s Christmas Tree” on April 28, 1926. Due in large part to its huge base, the General Grant tree was thought to be the largest tree in the world prior to 1931, when the first precise measurements indicated that the General Sherman was slightly larger. On March 29, 1956, President Dwight D Eisenhower declared the tree a “National Shrine”, a memorial to those who died in war. It is the only living object to be so declared.

In 2005 the General Grant moved up one place in the giant sequoia size rankings, when the Washington tree lost the hollow upper half of its trunk after a fire. Once thought to be well over 2,000 years old, recent estimates suggest the General Grant tree is closer to 1,650 years old. In 2012, it was determined that the General Grant was the third largest tree in the world, behind the General Sherman and President.

Becoming A Citizen   1 comment

Mary Gavelda immigrated from Poland in 1908, and then married Simon Chucalovich in 1910. Mary became a naturalized citizen in 1939 ... and Velda was named for her.

Mary Gavelda immigrated from Austria-Hungary (now Poland) in 1909, and then married Simon Chucalovich in 1911. Mary, who is Velda’s paternal Grandmother, became a naturalized citizen in 1939 … and Velda was named for her.

Given the political surge towards dealing with illegal immigration in some fashion, I thought it worthwhile to review what it takes to become a citizen.

I did it the easy way. As Lady Gaga sang, “I Was Born This Way.”

There are an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the country.  However, the last time the US created a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, only a fraction of those eligible became naturalized — less than half, in fact.

Naturalization is the process by which U.S. citizenship is granted to a foreign citizen or national after he or she fulfills the requirements established by Congress in the (current) Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

Generally, to be eligible for naturalization you must:

  • Be age 18 or older;
  • Be a (ed. note: legal) permanent resident for a certain amount of time (usually 5 years but less for some individuals);
  • Be a person of good moral character;
  • Have a basic knowledge of U.S. history and government;
  • Have a period of continuous residence and physical presence in the United States; and
  • Be able to read, write, and speak basic English.

There is a test! You must pass a test on US history and government, and another test on English. Here’s a recent history and government test summary from the Wall Street Journal:

Citizenship Test

Here are a few of the more interesting questions from our current N-400, Application for Naturalization.

Have you ever been a habitual drunkard?

Have you ever been a member or in any way associated (either directly or indirectly) with:

a. The Communist Party?

b. Any other totalitarian party?

c. A terrorist organization?

Do you have any title of nobility in any foreign country?

On July 3, 2012 at the Seattle Center, 520 people from 79 nations became U.S. citizens. – Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

On July 3, 2012 at the Seattle Center, 520 people from 79 nations became U.S. citizens. – Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

How About Your Family?

We are a nation of immigrants.

I hope our political leaders can find their way clear to solving the complex issue that is immigration. We need to control our borders … but we also need to be realistic about the labor needs in our country. California crops would rot in the field if not for the migrant labor that follows the harvest. I’m not a fan of the illegals clustered around Home Depot and equipment rental yards hoping to catch some day labor. I absolutely believe that employers should only employ legal residents.

However, we cannot and must not be a closed society. Immigrants should have a chance to succeed in our country, just as my ancestors did.

US Citizenship and Immigration Services

$1   Leave a comment

The Presidential DollarsI’m a former numismatist.  Gave it up … but I’m intrigued by efforts to introduce the new dollar coins.  Why aren’t you?

Here’s the quick summary: dollar coins are cheaper to make & maintain than dollar bills.  If we just lose the bills and convert to coins, the government (that we pay for) would save millions and millions of dollars.

Here’s what the General Accounting Office said in 2012:

Over the past 40 years, many nations have replaced lower-denomination notes with coins as a means of providing a financial benefit to their governments. GAO has reported five times over the past 22 years that replacing the $1 note with a $1 coin would provide a net benefit to the government of hundreds of millions of dollars annually.

These are the 2013 issues of the Presidential Dollar series. The mint is no longer making them for general circulation ... until the backlog from prior years is eased into circulation.

These are the 2013 issues of the Presidential Dollar series. The mint is no longer making them for general circulation … until the backlog from prior years is eased into circulation.

There’s research that says Americans are overwhelmingly in favor of keeping the dollar bills.  Convenience is what matters, apparently.

There’s research that says that when they hear of the cost, though, Americans are 2:1 in favor of converting to the coins.

I’m not a big fan of carrying coins in my pocket, but changing from dollar bills to dollar coins?  I’m a fan.

And the Presidential series of dollar coins with the edge lettering are really cool.  I’m a fan!

Why aren’t you?


Mommy’s Weird – the Canadian penny

The Facts on Why to Switch

The Presidential Coin Program

Dollars - reverse

51   Leave a comment

Puerto Rico “The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States…” — U.S. Constitution, Article IV, Section 3, clause 2

A few weeks ago, our largest commonwealth voted to begin the process to become a state in the United States of America.

Since then, approving editorials have appeared in Washington, Boston and other US cities.

The White House has declared their support for what would be our 51st state:

“Congress should now study the results closely, and provide the people of Puerto Rico with a clear path forward that lays out the means by which Puerto Ricans themselves can determine their own status.”

So What Happened?

Puerto Rico had an election, and 54% stated they do not support continuing as a US Commonwealth.  This is the first time that a majority of Puerto Rican voters have voted against the status quo.

There was a second question, and this is where it gets a bit dicey.  61% chose statehood, 33% chose a semi-autonomous “sovereign free association” and 6% chose outright independence.  Oh, and 33% left the 2nd question blank.


In this over-heated political stew, everyone points fingers at what they want the results to mean.  In this case, 480,000 voters, or roughly 1/3, did not vote on the 2nd question.  61% of the actual voters chose statehood, but if you count those that didn’t vote on this question (but did on the first), then the total of yes votes is less than 50% of those that stood in the voting booths.

Apparently, the pro-commonwealth group (which lost the first question 54% to 46%) told their supporters to leave the 2nd question blank.  This strategy allows them to claim a victory through non-participation.

To further confuse, the pro-statehood Governor lost his bid for re-election.  His pro-commonwealth opponent won, making it unlikely that the state will move forward with its statehood request any time soon.

Puerto Rico would become our second island state, but the first state where most discourse is in Spanish.

Puerto Rico would become our second island state, but the first state where most discourse is in Spanish.

What’s Next?

The US Constitution is very clear: the US Congress has 100% control of the process.  And, if a simple majority of our Senators and Representatives vote for Puerto Rican statehood next month, then they are a state.  Immedidately.  That is not expected, of course.  Historically, Congress has passed “enabling legislation” that has shown previous territories desiring admission into the Union what the correct next steps should be.  They can put any strictures they wish on the process.
  • Utah petitioned Congress for 50 years before they were finally admitted as a state.  Their enabling legislation specified that polygamy must be outlawed in their state constitution before they could be admitted.
  • The Dakotas, Montana and Washington didn’t have to wait that long, but their enabling legislation did specify that grazing contracts on public lands could be for no longer than 5 years — soon amended to ten years — when the four states were admitted.
  • Oklahoma was told that it would be admitted, but only as a combination of two territories:  the Indian territory of Sequoyah and the rest of what became the unified state of Oklahoma.  The petitioning territory of Sequoyah was not to be admitted alone as a state.
What will Puerto Rico face if enabling legislation is passed?
  • They’ll probably be directed to convene a constitutional convention to create the new state’s government (and remember, their new Governor is against the entire process).
  • Congress might require a provision that English be the only official language (currently, Spanish and English are sanctioned).
  • Puerto Rico will lose the ability they have as a commonwealth to send their own teams to the Olympic games.
  • They will for the first time have to pay … income tax.
As a wise man once said, be careful what you wish for.
Puerto Rico flagMore

Viva La Estididad De Puerto Rico!

Catch Some Wide Eye

The Pro-Commonwealth Viewpoint Is Different

Washington Times On English

Oklahoma Historical Society

Ohio’s Enabling Act of 1802

Utah’s Very Interesting Path To Statehood

Wikipedia’s Summary Of Statehood Issues


Portraits: James Buchanan   Leave a comment

A daguerreotype of James Buchanan

James Buchanan (1791 – 1868)

The 15th President of the United States, 1857 – 1861

AKA: Old Public Functionary

From: Pennsylvania

College: Dickinson College

Married to: never married (the only President to never marry)

Children: none

Party: Democratic

Previous Jobs: Lawyer, US Congressman, US Senator, Secretary of State, Minister to the United Kingdom

In His Words: “All agree that under the Constitution slavery in the States is beyond the reach of any human power except that of the respective States themselves wherein it exists. May we not, then, hope that the long agitation on this subject is approaching its end, and that the geographical parties to which it has given birth, so much dreaded by the Father of his Country, will speedily become extinct?”

“I am the last President of the United States!”

“Sir, if you are as happy in entering the White House as I shall feel on returning to Wheatland, you are a happy man indeed.” (said to Abraham Lincoln on the day of his inauguration)

“Liberty must be allowed to work out its natural results; and these will, ere long, astonish the world.”

“What is right and what is practicable are two different things.”

Not true: Historical figures are often appropriated to fulfill a political agenda in today’s society.  Such is the case with Buchanan, who has been called the first gay President.  This allegation is unproven.  Circumstantial evidence is there (He never married!  He liked to gossip!  He lived with another man!).  However, he also had his heart broken by his fiance who died suddenly after breaking the engagement (suicide?).  Lots of questions here, and no definitive answer.  Was he gay?  We don’t know.  Was he heterosexual?  It appears so, though we don’t have the “proof” of a marriage and children. So, for me, I’ll simply say it is unproven that he was gay.  Some additional thoughts are below, under the “More” section.


James Buchanan was born in a log cabin and there were 11 children in his family.

Minnesota, Oregon and Kansas joined the Union during his Presidency.  Unfortunately, 7 states seceded:  South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, George, Louisiana and Texas.

Buchanan is frequently cited as the worst President, since he did not resolve the issue of slavery (just like his predecessors!) and did not prevent the secession of the South.

The Official Portrait: This red, white and blue painting was done by George Peter Alexander Healy in 1859.  So what’s going on with his hair? James Buchanan, Official White House Portrait



New York Times

McSweeney’s Internet Tendency

Portraits: John Tyler   Leave a comment

John Tyler (1790 – 1862)John Tyler circa 1850 Daguerreotype

The 10th President of the United States, 1841 – 1845

AKA: His Accidency (from his opponents; he was the first President be elevated to the office after the death of his predecessor)

From: Virginia

College: The College of William & Mary

Married to: Letitia Christian, Julia Gardiner

Children: Mary, Robert, John Jr, Letitia, Elizabeth, Anne Contesse, Alice, Tazewell, David Gardiner, John Alexander, Julia Gardiner, Lachlan, Lyon Gardiner, Robert Fitzwalter, Pearl

Party: Independent, 1841 – 1862; Whig, 1834 – 1841; Democratic, 1824 – 1834; Democratic-Republican, before 1825

Previous Jobs: lawyer, Chancellor of the College of William & Mary, US Congressman, Governor of Virginia, US Senator, President pro tempore of the US Senate, Vice President

In His Words: “Popularity, I have always thought, may aptly be compared to a coquette – the more you woo her, the more apt is she to elude your embrace.”

“I can never consent to being dictated to as to what I shall or shall not do. I, as President, shall be responsible for my administration. I hope to have your hearty co-operation in carrying out its measures. So long as you see fit to do this, I shall be glad to have you with me. When you think otherwise, your resignations will be accepted.”

“So far as it depends on the course of this government, our relations of good will and friendship will be sedulously cultivated with all nations.”

“For how can the example of a democratic America be resisted? Do you not perceive that a light is breaking forth everywhere? That this same free America has already civilized a continent, which when we were boys was almost all in a wilderness state?”

“In 1840 I was called from my farm to undertake the administration of public affairs and I foresaw that I was called to a bed of thorns. I now leave that bed which has afforded me little rest, and eagerly seek repose in the quiet enjoyments of rural life.”

“If the tide of defamation and abuse shall turn, and my administration come to be praised, future Vice-Presidents who may succeed to the Presidency may feel some slight encouragement to pursue an independent course.”

Not true: Tyler is now a US citizen, but was not when he died!  After leaving office in 1845, Tyler worked to resolve the differences between the North and the South, but when he could not get Virginia to compromise, he supported secession.  He was elected to the Confederate House of Representatives, but died before taking his seat.  He’s often thought of as a traitor, and was actually not a citizen when he died.  He’s the first President whose death was not recognized by the US government.  His citizenship was restored over 100 years later by President Carter.

True: Tyler was vehemently against the slave trade, but was supportive of slavery itself.  He believed in the ascendancy of the white man over the black man.

After he did not support key Whig policies after he assumed the Presidency, the Whigs dropped this sitting President from their party!

President Tyler would often play his violin at White House parties. At one time he wanted to be a concert violinist.

During his Presidency, Florida was admitted as a state, Texas was annexed and Tyler extended Monroe Doctrine protection to Hawaii.

Tyler was one of two Presidents widowed while in office (Wilson was the other).

When President Harrison died in 1841, our country faced for the first time the transition for the elected Vice President to assume the office of the Presidency.  It was no certain thing, with all of the turmoil of the mid-19th century.  President Tyler asserted himself immediately and properly, ensuring future generations could count on a smooth transition of power.

President Tyler would often play his violin at White House parties. At one time he wanted to be a concert violinist.

Tyler would return unopened any mail – any mail – that failed to address him properly as president.

The Official Portrait: One of several presidential portraits painted by George P. A. Healy.  This painting is dated 1859, and was displayed in the White Blue Room as recently as 2009.

I am fascinated with the contempt for journalism shown in this portrait!