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William Henry Harrison

From the Collection: The Presidents

9th President

William Henry Harrison, Library of Congress

Terms: 1841
Political Party: Whig
First Lady: Anna Tuthill Symmes Harrison
Vice President: John Tyler

Born: February 9, 1773, in Berkeley, Virginia... William Harrison, a frontier army general whose fame (and nickname) was assured at the battle of Tippecanoe, spent only 32 days in office before dying. He caught pneumonia after delivering a 90-minute inaugural address in freezing rain... Died: April 4, 1841.

The Era
1841: Supreme Court rules that the 39 slave mutineers of the Amistad are freed.

Domestic Policy
Although he did not accomplish anything in his month in office, Harrison had no strong program to put in place. He promised in his inaugural address to follow the will of the people by abiding by the decisions of their representatives in Congress. This deflation of the office of the presidency was a reaction to the political strength of Andrew Jackson, and unbeknownst to Harrison, would be rejected by his successor and vice president, John Tyler.

Foreign Affairs
It was a peaceful month.

Presidential Politics
The Whigs, led by Henry Clay, fielded Harrison as a war hero candidate in 1840. During the campaign, they downplayed Harrison's genteel origins and portrayed him as a hard cider drinking, log cabin westerner in contrast to the sophisticated Democratic nominee, President Martin Van Buren. "Tippecanoe and Tyler Too" was the folksy and amiable sounding slogan devised for Harrison and his running mate.

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