482 Southwestern Historical Quarterly January
cowboy tales, while modern Texas exemplifies for them the brash, fast-food cul-
ture against which they define their own identity.
The French in Texas stands as an outstanding compilation of essays on an
underappreciated subject. While the essays vary in length and quality (the best
being F. Todd Smith's contribution), the chapter transitions appear seamless
and testify to an outstanding job of editing. The book is a worthy culmination of
a project started in 1996, covering ground as diverse as the state's terrain.
Through their investigations into the arts and architecture and from examina-
tions of ill-fated socialist utopias to the current multi-national corporate cities of
Houston and Dallas, these essays demonstrate that the Texas twang has always
contained a trace of the Gallic lilt.
Northfield, Mnn. S. M. DUFFY
The Republican Vzszon ofJohn Tyler. By Dan Monroe. (College Station: Texas A&M
University Press, 2003. Pp. x+252. Acknowledgments, epilogue, notes, bibli-
ography, index. ISBN 1-585444-216-x. $39.95, cloth.)
John Tyler, the nation's tenth chief executive, little remembered or honored
in the pantheon of presidents, remains a political cipher. Tyler ascended to
office upon the sudden death of William Henry Harrison, who served one
month. A former Democrat turned Whig because of his opposition to Andrew
Jackson, he soon became a man without a party.
Dan Monroe begins his narrative by explaining in the first three chapters the
origins of Tyler's political philosophy, and in the final four chapters, he focuses
on selected episodes of Tyler's presidency. Scholars view Tyler's deep commit-
ment to states' rights as nothing more than "opposition to nationalism in all its
forms," but Monroe believes that "a greater, more detailed, and nuanced
description of what motivated Tyler than this rather vague characterization is
required" (p. 6). The author further asserts, "without a true picture of these
principles and an explanation for Tyler's seemingly lifetime commitment to
them, his actions as president, his acts throughout his political career, appear
unfathomable, even irrational" (ibid). "The key to Tyler's behavior was his
devotion to republicanism," writes Monroe, "it is necessary to delve into the
principles that animated Tyler, the upbringing that imbued him with such prin-
ciples, and his early political career up to the presidency" (p. 7). In short, the
narrative serves a twofold purpose in that it is both political biography and an
administrative history. The biographical content serves as a large part of the
explanation for Tyler's conduct of his office. Tyler's self-destructive political
behavior is portrayed as nothing more than manifestation of acting on his
deeply held republican principles.
Key events discussed include the bank vetoes of 1841, the additional tariff
vetoes of 1842, and most importantly for readers of the Southwestern Hzstorical
Quarterly, the annexation of Texas. Many historians have long viewed the annex-
ation as part of the "slave power" conspiracy, but Monroe sees it differently,
declaring that Tyler "rose above a narrow sectionalism and promoted a vision of
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 107, July 2003 - April, 2004. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101224/. Accessed May 4, 2015.