John Tyler, despite his adroitness in establishing that he had inherited complete presidential power when his predecessor died in office, became a weak and maladroit chief executive during his own time in the White House. Yet, Tyler was not afraid to exercise his authority. First, he stared down an insurrection in Rhode Island, leaving it to the political processes to settle that feud. Second, he wielded enormous power in the form of his presidential vetoes, whittling away at Congress’s previously supreme authority and establishing that there was no limit to the number of, or reasons for, presidential vetoes. A clumsy one-term president who left office politically emasculated, he nonetheless opened the door for a more muscular presidency—in relation to Congress—that would benefit future chief executives.
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- Lori Fisher