USA presidential dollar #10: John Tyler
John Tyler(1790 – 1862) was the tenth President of the United States (1841–1845) and the first to succeed to the office following the death of a predecessor.
A longtime Democratic-Republican, Tyler was nonetheless elected Vice President on the Whig ticket. Upon the death of President William Henry Harrison on April 4, 1841, only a month after his inauguration, the nation was briefly in a state of confusion regarding the process of succession. Ultimately the situation was settled with Tyler becoming President both in name and in fact. Tyler took the oath of office on April 6, 1841, setting a precedent that would govern future successions and eventually be codified in the Twenty-fifth Amendment.
Once he became president, he stood against his party's platform and vetoed several of their proposals. In result, most of his cabinet resigned and the Whigs expelled him from their party.
Arguably the most famous and significant achievement of Tyler's administration was the annexation of the Republic of Texas in 1845. Tyler was the first president born after the adoption of the U.S. Constitution, the only president to have held the office of President pro tempore of the Senate, and the only former president elected to office in the government of the Confederacy during the Civil War (though he died before he assumed said office).
USA presidential dollar #11: James K. Polk
James Knox Polk (1795-1849) was the 11th President of the United States (1845–1849). Polk was born in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. He later lived in and represented the state of Tennessee. A Democrat, Polk served as Speaker of the House (1835–1839) and Governor of Tennessee (1839–1841) before becoming president.
A firm supporter of Andrew Jackson, Polk was the last strong pre-Civil War president. Polk is noted for his foreign policy successes. He threatened war with Britain then backed away and split the ownership of the Northwest with Britain. He is more famous for leading the nation into the Mexican–American War, in which the US was victorious. He lowered the tariff and established a treasury system that lasted until 1913.
As president, Polk "expanded the Union by settling claims to Texas and the Oregon Territory and by acquiring California and the Southwest". The expansion reopened a furious national debate over allowing slavery in the new territories. The controversy was inadequately arbitrated by the Compromise of 1850, and finally found its ultimate resolution on the battlefields of the U.S. Civil War. Polk signed the Walker Tariff that brought an era of nearly free trade to the country until 1861. He oversaw the opening of the U.S. Naval Academy and the Smithsonian Institution, the groundbreaking for the Washington Monument, and the issuance of the first postage stamps in the United States, introduced by his Postmaster General Cave Johnson.
Being satisfied with the accomplishments of his term, he did not seek re-election, and retired as promised. He died of cholera three months after his term ended. Scholars have ranked him favorably on the list of greatest presidents for his ability to set an agenda and achieve all of it. Polk has been called the "least known consequential president" of the United States.