When Tyler became president in 1841, his administration (and his limited Southern beliefs) strengthened the division in America that led to the Civil War. By the time he left office, Tyler's Cabinet secretaries were all Southern conservatives, men who ultimately returned to the Democratic Party from the Whigs.
By the time of the Civil War, the Democrats had become identified with planter interests, states' rights and slavery. Despite his conservative views, Tyler was strongly against the Civil War and wanted to preserve the Union. He tried avoiding conflict by chairing a "Peace Convention" involving Northern and Southern states' representatives. The conference failed, however, and Tyler became a supporter of Southern secession, serving as a delegate to the Virginia Secession Convention.
After Virginia seceded from the Union in 1861, Tyler was elected to the Confederate House of Representatives, but he died in Richmond, Virginia, on Jan. 18, 1862, just days before its first meeting. John Tyler was the only president who also served in the Confederacy.