William Henry Harrison (February 9, 1773 – April 4, 1841) was the ninth president of the United States. Harrison was won the election of 1840 and on April 4, 1841 he was the first president give a two-hour inaugural speech and the first to die during his first thirty days of office. Harrison’s inaugural speech was given during a cold wet March day and some say it’s what caused his cold which then turned to pneumonia that he was unable to recover from. Prior to Harrison becoming the ninth president he was also a popular American military officer and politician.
Harrison attended the Presbyterian Hampden – Sydney college until 1790 where he became well versed in the Latin and basic French languages. Harrison’s father had moved him around from school to school due to religious movements and did not want his son’s religious views to be changed or influenced differently from how he was raised. However, due to his father’s efforts to deter any influence Harrison became involved with the anti-slavery Quakers and Methodist during his attendance at the Academy in Southampton County.
Harrison’s father was pro-slavery and therefore he moved Harrison once again to the University of Pennsylvania to study medicine under Dr. Benjamin Rush. Harrison’s Military career began at the United States Army, 11th Regt. Of Infantry at the young age of 18. His first assignment sent him to Cincinnati in the North-West Territory where he would engage in the Northwest Indian War. Harrison became noticed quickly by Military leaders by his strict attention to discipline and received his first promotion as lieutenant and within a year promoted to serve as aide-de-camp.
Harrison gained further recognition after participating in the Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794 which marked the successful end of the Northwest Indian War. After the Northwest Indian War ended the Treaty of Greenville was signed by Lieutenant Harrison which opened Ohio for settlement by white Americans. In 1797 Harrison resigned from the military and began his campaign for a role in the Northwest Territorial government. Harrison wrote a letter campaigning for the vacant position as secretary of the Northwest Territory and got the job. Harrison was successful in this new position and became recognized for the work he was doing.
Harrison would continue his work with congress with his achievement known as the Harrison Land Act. His Land Act reduced the size of tracks of land the federal government sold to as little as 320 acres which was half of what had been required before. In addition, people were permitted to buy land on credit, at two dollars per acre expanding the opportunities to acquire farms in the west. “President Adams, with the approval of Congress, made Harrison the first governor of the territory, which included most of what are now the states of Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Michigan. Harrison gained popularity through the northwest and eastern social circles as a frontier leader and concern over rising land costs due to the new land policy put in place by the United States Congress. This policy was what Harrison would run against when he ran for congress as he encouraged immigration into the territory hoping to promote the American dream and building the economy. . Harrison was also on the committee which divided the territory into two segments known as the Ohio Territory and Indiana Territory which were passed in 1800.
President John Adams nominated Harrison to become Governor of the new territory due to his ties to the west and neutral political stance. As governor of the new Territory his priority was to obtain title to Native American lands to allow white settlement to expand in the area to gain statehood. Harrison would oversee the creation of thirteen treaties buying 60 million acres from Native American Leaders. The Treaty of St. Louis offended the Sauk, Meskwaki, and Quashquame tribes as they were forced out of western Illinois and parts of Missouri.
This treaty was one of the primary reasons why these tribes joined Great Britain during the War of 1812. “Tensions remained high on the frontier and became much greater after the 1809 Treaty of Fort Wayne in which Harrison bought, by questionable means, more than 2. 5 million acres of land inhabited by Shawnee, Kickapoo, Wea, and Piankeshaw from the Miami tribe who claimed ownership of the land. ” Between 1803 to 1809, Harrison became unpopular with President Jefferson as he lobbied Congress to repeal Article Six of the Northwest Ordinance to permit slavery.
Harrison had argued permitting slavery would make settling the new territory more appealing and make the territory economically viable. Congress had suspended Article Six for ten years making it the choice of the settlers on whether to permit slavery. Meaning that any new settlers that came from proslavery states could bring their slaves however, they would become indentured servants. The slaves worked a set amount of years usually 4-5 years to earn their freedom. Settlers would acquire new slaves as they came seeking their freedom.
Harrison had taken in an indentured slaves George who worked eleven years for his freedom. Harrison, felt he could expand upon the success of the appeal and work to legalize slavery outright. This was successfully blocked by the abolitionist once their party came to power in 1809. War of 1812, there was continued conflict with Native Americans in the Old Northwest. Harrison was offered the rank of brigadier general of his army after General James Winchester became the commander of the Army of the Northwest however; Harrison wanted to remain the sole commander of the Army.
As commander and receiving reinforcements, Harrison led his Army further North battling the Indians and their British allies. “Harrison won victories in Indiana and Ohio and recaptured Detroit before invading Canada. ” After the Battle of Thames, Secretary of War John Armstrong divided the command of Harrison’s army and Harrison would be reassigned. Harrison disagreed with Armstrong’s tactic and the effectiveness of the invasion of Canada. Harrison new this disagreement would get him “subversive military order and discipline” and made the decision to resign from the Army.
Congress investigated his resignation after the war. It was determined that Harrison was mistreated by Armstrong and he was given the gold medal for his services to the War of 1812, “The Battle of the Thames was one of the great American victories in the war. ” In 1836, Harrison began his presidential campaign. This was the only time in history when a major political party intentionally ran more than one presidential candidate. The candidate that ran opposite Harrison was Vice President Martin Van Buren who was popular and most likely to win.
Van Buren’s campaign had attempted to run a negative candidate sighting that Harrison was a lazy drunk who sat in his log cabin home drinking hard cider. By electing popular Whigs regionally, they hoped to deny 148 electoral votes and forcing the House of Representatives to decide the election. “This strategy backfired, however, when Harrison and his vice-presidential running-mate, John Tyler, immediately adopted the log cabin and hard cider symbols. ” Harrison used this against them by taking the images of a log cabin and hard cider, using them on banners and poster.
This would mark his connection to the common man. Although Harrison came from an aristocratic Virginia family his supporters envisioned him as a humble frontiersman like that of Andrew Jackson. The Whig party also felt he resembled Andrew Jackson which was one of the reasons why he was chosen as a candidate. Harrison’s military record and reputation as the hero of the Battle of Tippecanoe we highlighted successes too. Therefore, they would use Tippecanoe as part of his campaign slogan; “Tippecanoe and Tyler Too”.
Harrison won 234 electoral votes to 60 for Van Buren, a landslide that masked the narrowness of the popular vote, which Harrison won by only a little more than 145,000 of the 2. 3 million votes cast. The Whigs also won control of the House and Senate. ” As presidential candidates finish their terms they leave legacies behind them. Event or memorable changes that take place which leave their mark. Harrison’s was the way he campaigned laying the foundation for the modern presidential campaign tactics. Harrison was also the first of the four presidents to not have nominated a judge to serve on the Supreme court.
I was not able to find any documentation of what anyone really remembers about this president. However, he was the son of a congressman Benjamin Harrison who signed the Declaration of Independence. Harrison was the youngest of seven children who became impoverished after the death of his father who had no estate to leave his family. Harrison’s path to politics began once he joined the United States Army becoming a wellknown Military leader, worked his way through different jobs in government gaining the experience in political office and dealings.
A negative that people may remember is where he promoted slavery in the northern territories where most northerners opposed slavery. I think he was lucky that this did not stick with him through his election for presidency. Van Buren probably should have used this against him rather than the “log cabin & hard cider” comments. Lessons that could be learned from his presidency was the way he was able to negotiate land deals with the Natives. Harrison dealt with the Native American’s on acquiring their land and had an intuition on when something needed to be done urgently before dealings were lost.
Harrison also figured out a way to work bipartisan to reach deals that would work towards territory expansion and economic growth. In conclusion, Harrison was a motivated individual who fought for what he believed in and wanted to fight for the American Dream of the people. He believed in growing the Northwestern Territory and new how to do that by making land more accessible to the common settler. He was also willing to fight for the Native American land to build the territories and gaining statehood.
Harrison took many risks dealing with the Native American’s in attempts to acquire their land. “In 1809 Harrison begun to push for the need of another treaty to open more land for settlement. The Miami, Wea, and Kickapoo were “vehemently” opposed to selling any more land around the Wabash River. To influence those groups to sell the land, Harrison decided, against the wishes of President James Madison, to first conclude a treaty with the tribes willing to sell and use them to help influence those who held out. The negotiations Harrison promised were large subsidies and payments to tribes if land was given in trade.
Unfort Harrison was not able to do much with his presidency as he died within the first month of holding office. He died from complications due to pneumonia. Some say it was due to him delivering his inauguration address for two hours’ in cold wet weather. Voters were upset as they had voted for change and their change maker was gone. Harrison offered his last words which were, “Sire, I wish you to understand the principle of the Government, I wish them carried out. I ask nothing more. “