William Henry Harrison
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Harrison, William Henry,1773–1841, 9th President of the United States (Mar. 4–Apr. 4, 1841), b. "Berkeley," Charles City co., Va.; son of Benjamin HarrisonHarrison, Benjamin,
1726?–1791, political leader in the American Revolution, signer of the Declaration of Independence, b. Charles City co., Va. As a member (1749–75) of the house of burgesses, he protested against the Stamp Act (1765).
..... Click the link for more information. (1726?–1791) and grandfather of Benjamin HarrisonHarrison, Benjamin,
1833–1901, 23d President of the United States (1889–93), b. North Bend, Ohio, grad. Miami Univ. (Ohio), 1852; grandson of William Henry Harrison.
..... Click the link for more information. (1833–1901).
Military and Political Careers
Harrison attended Hampden-Sydney College and studied medicine briefly under Benjamin Rush in Philadelphia before joining (1791) the army and taking part in campaigns against Native Americans in the Northwest Territory. In 1798 he resigned to become secretary of the territory, and the next year he became territorial delegate to Congress. He helped secure the division of the territory into Ohio and Indiana and served (1800–1812) as governor of Indiana Territory at Vincennes. He was perhaps more important than any other man in opening Ohio and Indiana to settlement, negotiating a number of treaties with various tribes, notably the Treaty of Fort Wayne (1809). Native American opposition to the white advance then concentrated in hostile demonstrations directed by TecumsehTecumseh
, 1768?–1813, chief of the Shawnee, b. probably in Clark co., Ohio. Among his people he became distinguished for his prowess in battle, but he opposed the practice of torturing prisoners.
..... Click the link for more information. . Harrison engaged the forces of Tecumseh at the famous battle of TippecanoeTippecanoe
, river, c.170 mi (270 km) long, rising in the lake district of NE Ind. and flowing SW to the Wabash River, near Lafayette. U.S. Gen. William Henry Harrison fought the Shawnees in the battle of Tippecanoe, Nov. 7, 1811, on the site of Battle Ground, Ind.
..... Click the link for more information. .
In the War of 1812, after the failure of Gen. William Hull, Harrison was made commander in the Northwest. Taking Detroit (Sept. 29, 1813), he advanced to defeat Gen. Henry Procter and establish American hegemony in the West at the battle of the Thames River on Oct. 5, 1813 (see Thames, battle of theThames, battle of the,
engagement fought on the Thames River near Chatham, Ont. (Oct. 5, 1813), in the War of 1812. Gen. William H. Harrison led an American force of about 3,000 against a British army of approximately 400 regulars commanded by Gen. Henry A.
..... Click the link for more information. ), in which Tecumseh was killed. Later Harrison concluded treaties with Native Americans—Greenville (1814) and Spring Wells (1815)—that ushered in an era of peace and white expansion in the Old Northwest. He served in the House of Representatives (1816–19) and the Senate (1825–28). He was appointed (1828) minister to Colombia but was recalled (1829) by Andrew Jackson. His political fortunes rose as he became regarded as a compromise Whig candidate between Henry Clay and Daniel Webster.
A group of Whig Anti-Masons nominated Harrison for President in 1836, and in 1840, Webster went over to Harrison's candidacy for the presidency as a Whig. Clay, although bitterly disappointed, had to support Harrison. The campaign that followed was the first of the "rip-roaring" campaigns in U.S. history. Harrison and his running mate, John TylerTyler, John,
1790–1862, 10th President of the United States, b. Charles City co., Va. Early Career
Educated at the College of William and Mary, he studied law under his father, John Tyler (1747–1813), governor of Virginia from 1808 to 1811, and was
..... Click the link for more information. , were transformed by publicity. Harrison, an aristocratic Virginian, was made into a simple backwoods frontiersman, Tyler into his faithful lieutenant.
The "Log Cabin and Hard Cider" campaign was launched in answer to ill-judged jeers from the supporters of the Democratic candidate, Martin Van BurenVan Buren, Martin,
1782–1862, 8th President of the United States (1837–41), b. Kinderhook, Columbia co., N.Y. Early Career
He was reared on his father's farm, was educated at local schools, and after reading law was admitted (1803) to the bar.
..... Click the link for more information. . Van Buren was pictured as an effete, "silver-spoon" man, Harrison as a rugged Westerner, despite his Virginia upbringing. "Tippecanoe and Tyler too" won—partly because the Panic of 1837 had turned many against Van Buren. Harrison then selected a brilliant Whig cabinet headed by Webster and adopted a program outlined by Clay, but the strain of the campaign was too much. He died a month later, Tyler became President, and the Whig partyWhig party,
one of the two major political parties of the United States in the second quarter of the 19th cent. Origins
As a party it did not exist before 1834, but its nucleus was formed in 1824 when the adherents of John Quincy Adams and Henry Clay joined forces
..... Click the link for more information. fell prey to factionalism.
See biographies by D. B. Goebel (1926, repr. 1973), F. Cleaves (1939, repr. 1969), J. A. Green (1941), and G. Collins (2012); R. G. Gunderson, The Log Cabin Campaign (1957); W. M. Hoffnagle, Road to Fame (1959); N. L. Peterson, The Presidencies of William Henry Harrison and John Tyler (1989).