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John Tyler
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Ross: The early days of American politics make today seem tame

10th U.S. President John Tyler (White House Historical Association)

It’s tempting to think that the nation’s capital has never been so chaotic, but tech entrepreneur and historian Jared Cohen would like to offer some perspective on that.

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He’s just written a book called “The Accidental Presidents,” about the eight vice-presidents who suddenly found themselves thrust into the top job.

He says if you’re thinking our current President has a temper, consider the case of our 10th president, John Tyler. When his fellow Whigs kicked him out of the party over a banking bill, he was so angry he tried to defect to the Democrats.

“And then the Democrats wouldn’t welcome him with open arms and he decided he was just super angry at everybody and he would annex Texas, precipitating war with Mexico,” said Cohen.

We’ve seen nothing even remotely like that!

And if you’re thinking Congress has never been so polarized? Well, it may seem that way…

“But that’s also not true, because in 1850, Senator Henry Foote from Mississippi pulled a gun on Senator Thomas Hart Benton, and tried to shoot and murder him right there in the Senate Chamber,” Cohen continued.

Cooler heads wrestled the gun away and locked it in a drawer, however passing a gun control bill never crossed the Senators’ minds.

“Henry Foote’s claim to fame is he’d been shot by three different people in four duels, that included two with the same person.”

That’s when trolling was old school.

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