Great States: Virginia, Mother of Presidents
First Lady Letitia Tyler, wife of the tenth president John Tyler, was born at Cedar Grove Plantation, New Kent County, Virginia. Virginia was the first colony settled by the British at Jamestown in 1607. It was a Virginian, Richard Henry Lee that proposed the resolution for Independence to the Second Continental Congress. It was a Virginian, George Washington, who led the Continental Army in our war for independence and later became the first President of these United States of America. In fact four of the first five presidents were from the state of Virginia. And it is Virginia that has the honor of being the state that has produced the most United States Presidents.
Global Learning: The Isle of Man
Letitia Tyler was born in the United States in 1790, but her family immigrated to the United States from France and the British Isles. One of her great grandfathers, Thomas Christian, emigrated from the Isle of Man to the new world. The Isle of Man has a unique history and is not a part of the United Kingdom, although it is under the protection of the British government. It does have its own laws, courts, and government. This lesson will focus on the Isle of Man and its unique history and geography.
First Lady's "Firsts"
John Tyler took over the Presidency of the United States when William Henry Harrison died of pneumonia a month into his first term. He was the first Vice President to ascend to the higher office via the death of his predecessor. Unfortunately and ironically, his wife Letitia Tyler also was the first “first lady” to pass away while her husband was president. She died of complications from a second stroke in 1842. Although this is tragic, it is one of the “first” events or accomplishments of the group of presidential spouses known as the “First Ladies.” This lesson will look at some of the other first lady’s “firsts.”
"Left Foot, Right Foot": The History of Shoes
Letitia Tyler was born in 1790 and died of a stroke in 1842. She was the wife of the tenth President of the United States, John Tyler. She lived in a time of great invention and the beginning of industrialization. Many things we take for granted today did not exist when she was a child. One example of this is the process for making shoes. Today most people have multiple pairs of shoes that we buy based on attractiveness, fashion and comfort. When Letitia Tyler was a child, shoes were made by hand by craftsmen known as cobblers. It wasn't until she was 10 years old that a Philadelphia cobbler named William Young perfected a process for making different shoes for the right and left foot. Before that, shoes for each foot were made exactly the same. This lesson will look at the development of shoes over the centuries.
"Tippecanoe and Tyler, Too!" American Political Campaign Slogans
Letitia Tyler suffered
a stroke shortly before her husband, John Tyler, became the President after the
death of William Henry Harrison. She was the first presidential wife to pass
away while her husband was in office.
President Tyler never sought his own election to the Whitehouse, which
is somewhat ironic because his name was a prominent part of the first memorable
slogan that was part of a presidential campaign. William Henry Harrison the
hero of the battle of Tippecanoe included John Tyler as his running mate in 1840, hoping for support from southern
states'-righters who could not stomach Jacksonian Democracy. The slogan
"Tippecanoe and Tyler Too" implied flagwaving nationalism plus a dash
of southern sectionalism.
Darwin and the HMS Beagle
During the years that her husband, John Tyler, served in the United States Senate and ascended to the presidency in 1841, the world around Letitia Tyler was experiencing a revolution in social, philosophical, and scientific achievement. Writers and philosophers such as Kierkegaard and Nietzsche who were precursors to the more modern philosophy of existentialism were writing about the human condition. Karl Marx was formulating his ideas of government later published in his Communist
Manifesto in 1848. The abolitionist movement in the Northern United States
was gaining momentum. Samuel Morse was able to revolutionize communication with
his invention of the telegraph in 1838. A change in scientific thought in the
first half of the 19th century was led by the Romantic Movement which led to breakthroughs in the areas of physics such as electromagnetism, and especially in the area of biology with Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.
It is widely known that as a young man Charles
Darwin was invited to participate on a voyage on the ship HMS Beagle, the
purpose of which was to continue
the charting work in South America begun in a previous voyage as well as to run
a chain of chronometric readings around the globe. Darwin was brought on this
five year journey as a naturalist, whose job it was to study and document
natural history throughout the globe. Although it is not believed that he
developed his theory of evolution on this journey specifically, it was this
experience that honed his power of observation and sharpened the skills that
led to his later breakthroughs in the fields of naturalism and biology.
Historical American Cities: Williamsburg, Virginia
John Tyler was elected Vice President of the United States in 1840 as the running mate of William Henry Harrison. He is probably most notable as the Tyler on the back end of Harrison’s famous campaign slogan, ”Tippecanoe and Tyler Too.” His wife Letitia Tyler was living away from her husband during his vice presidency in their home in Williamsburg, Virginia when she received the news that her husband John had become the 10th
President of the United States following the death of Harrison.
Williamsburg, Virginia, is the location of the Tyler Plantation named “Sherwood Forest” which is still owned by the Tyler family today. The grounds are open to the public to visit as well as the house, which remains the longest frame house in America at over 300 feet. John Tyler named his home “Sherwood Forest” in reference to his reputation as a political outlaw.
Sherwood Forest is by no means though the main attraction in Williamsburg, Virginia. The city has become a Mecca of historical and tourist activity. Colonial Williamsburg is home to The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, which operates the world’s largest living history museum. The restored 18th-century capital of Britain’s largest, wealthiest, and most populous outpost of empire in the New World is a place to interpret the origins of the idea of America, conceived decades before the American Revolution. The Colonial Williamsburg story of a revolutionary city tells how diverse peoples, having different and sometimes conflicting ambitions, evolved into a society that valued liberty and equality.