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Why John Tyler May Be the Most Reviled U.S. President Ever

January 16, 2020 in History

By Christopher Klein

His party expelled him. His cabinet resigned. What made America’s 10th president such a political pariah?

If a Mount Rushmore for America’s most unpopular presidents is ever created, John Tyler would be a leading candidate to have his likeness carved into stone.

“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,” said America’s 10th president. Playing hard to get, though, also failed to garner Tyler popular affection. The maverick president’s fierce independent streak succeeded only in alienating politicians on both sides of the aisle.

Six years after Tyler left the Democratic Party over differences with President Andrew Jackson, the rival Whig party nominated the former congressman, senator and Virginia governor in 1840 as William Henry Harrison’s running mate. After the victory of their “Tippecanoe and Tyler too” ticket, the 68-year-old Harrison became the oldest president in the country’s short history. Tyler, deeming the vice president’s duties largely irrelevant, returned home to his Virginia plantation.

America 101: Why Do Presidential Campaigns Use Slogans? (TV-PG; 1:22)

READ MORE: How the Battle of Tippecanoe Helped Win the White House

Questioning Tyler’s legitimacy: ‘His Accidency’

Just 31 days after the inauguration, however, Tyler was stirred from his sleep by a rap on the door and given the news that Harrison had become the first American commander-in-chief to die in office. Upon returning to the nation’s capital, Tyler took the presidential oath, angering strict constructionists who argued that the Constitution only specified that, when a president died, the vice president would inherit presidential “powers and duties”—not the office itself. Former president John Quincy Adams wrote that Tyler was “in direct violation both of the grammar and context of the Constitution,” and eight senators voted against a resolution recognizing Tyler as the new president.

Those questioning Tyler’s legitimacy nicknamed the president “His Accidency.” Fellow Whigs would soon call him much worse.

The new president scoffed at his first cabinet meeting when Secretary of State Daniel Webster informed him that Harrison had agreed to abide by the majority decision of the cabinet on any policy matter—even if he was personally opposed. “I can never consent to being dictated to,” Tyler informed his cabinet. “I am the president, and I shall be responsible for my administration.” He made it clear …read more


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Lewis and Clark: A Timeline of the Extraordinary Expedition

January 16, 2020 in History

By Dave Roos

In 1804, Lewis and Clark set off on a journey filled with harrowing confrontations, harsh weather and fateful decisions as they scouted a route across the American West.

With the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, the territory of the United States doubled overnight. Months before the $15 million deal was finalized, though, President Thomas Jefferson won approval from Congress to send a team of intrepid explorers to find a passable water route west to the Pacific Ocean.

Jefferson tapped his personal secretary, Meriwether Lewis, to lead the “Corps of Discovery,” and once Lewis grasped the full scope and challenges of the expedition, he called on his Army friend and fellow Virginian, William Clark, to be his equal in command.

“If therefore there is anything… in this enterprise, which would induce you to participate with me in it’s fatiegues, it’s dangers and it’s honors,” Lewis wrote to Clark, “believe me there is no man on earth with whom I should feel equal pleasure in sharing them as with yourself.”

Below is a timeline of Lewis and Clark’s extraordinary expedition.

Meriwether Lewis and William Clark on their Keelboat known as ‘The Boat’ using poles to navigate the Missouri River in May 1804.

Lewis and Clark’s Journey Begins

May 14, 1804

The Corps of Discovery embarks from Camp Dubois outside of St. Louis, Missouri, in a 55-foot keelboat to begin the westward journey up the Missouri River. Among the 41-man crew of volunteers, soldiers and one African American slave, is Patrick Gass, a carpenter from Pennsylvania. Gass writes in his journal about the expected dangers ahead, including “warlike nations of savages of gigantic stature” and impassable mountain ranges.

“The determined and resolute character, however, of the corps, and the confidence which pervaded all ranks dispelled every emotion of fear, and anxiety for the present,” writes Gass, “[and] seemed to insure to us ample support in our future toils, suffering and dangers.”

August 20, 1804

Sergeant Charles Floyd, the youngest man on the expedition, dies of a suspected ruptured appendix near modern-day Sioux City, Iowa. Incredibly, Floyd’s is the only death during the entire two-year expedition.

A Tense Encounter With the Teton Sioux

September 25, 1804

Of all Lewis and Clark’s encounters with Native American tribes, the meeting with the Teton Sioux (Lakota) near modern-day Pierre, South Dakota, is among the most tense. Jefferson had charged the Corps with Indian diplomacy, which consisted mainly of announcing the Louisiana Purchase and presenting tribal …read more


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The UK and the EU Need a New Approach to Trade Remedies

January 16, 2020 in Economics

By Simon Lester

Simon Lester

Whatever your view is on the merits of the European Union, it would be hard to dispute that it is one of the most innovative international economic arrangements ever created. Its founders had a general vision, but it took a wide range of institutional and policy innovations during implementation to make it all work.


Seeking institutional innovation

As the UK and the EU undertake the difficult process of undoing their relationship and developing a new one, there will be a need for some additional innovation. Trying to use traditional trade agreement obligations as a replacement for this deep and complex economic relationship will be insufficient.

One area of particular difficulty will be trade remedies, which include tariffs imposed in response to import prices that are deemed too low (anti-dumping duties) and to foreign government subsidies (countervailing duties).



The term ‘dumping’ is sometimes thrown around loosely in trade policy discussions, but it has a technical meaning that involves a determination of whether the export price of a product is ‘unfairly’ low. A tariff can then be imposed to counteract the impact of this pricing. With regard to subsidies, there is a calculation of the amount of the subsidy, and, similarly, a tariff is imposed to counteract it.

The EU is one of the rare trade agreements that eliminates the use of trade remedies on internal trade. As a result, trade between the UK and other EU countries is not subject to trade remedies.

I have argued previously that tariffs imposed as trade remedies are unnecessary and problematic here, and should be kept out of the UK-EU economic relationship. This relationship would be permanently soured by recurring claims of ‘unfair trade’ by one side or the other.

Nevertheless, trade remedies are an established part of domestic trade policy and are difficult to avoid. Interest groups demand them, and it is hard to have a proper debate over their merits.

The UK has already set …read more

Source: OP-EDS