"The first vice president to become president on the death of the incumbent, John Tyler (1790-1862) was mocked by his adversaries as "His Accidency." Yet Tyler proved to be a bold and determined leader who used the malleable executive system outlined in the Constitution to his advantage. In this biography of the tenth president of the United States, Edward P. Crapol challenges traditional depictions of Tyler as a die-hard supporter of states' rights, an unwavering spokesman for a strict interpretation of the Constitution, and a faithful disciple of the republican vision of the founding fathers." "When it served his political ambitions, President Tyler did not hesitate to trample on states' rights, Crapol observes. In pursuit of his domestic and diplomatic agendas, Tyler exploited executive prerogatives and manipulated constitutional requirements in ways that violated his professed allegiance to a strict interpretation of the Constitution. His actions helped establish the tradition of a strong and energetic chief executive, setting precedents that his successors in the White House invoked to create an American empire and expand presidential power." "Crapol also highlights Tyler's enduring faith in America's national destiny and his belief that boundless territorial expansion would preserve the Union as a slaveholding republic. When Abraham Lincoln rejected this formula for endless expansion in 1861, Tyler, a Virginian, opted for secession and the Confederacy. He was ultimately stigmatized as America's "traitor" president for having betrayed the republic he once led. As Crapol demonstrates, Tyler's story anticipates the modern American presidency in all its power and grandeur, as well as its darker side."--BOOK JACKET.