William Henry Harrison was an American military officer and politician who served as the ninth president of the United States.
120 Facts About William Henry Harrison
William Henry Harrison was the first United States president to die in office, and a brief constitutional crisis resulted as presidential succession was not then fully defined in the United States Constitution.
William Henry Harrison was the last president born as a British subject in the Thirteen Colonies and was the paternal grandfather of Benjamin William Henry Harrison, the 23rd president of the United States.
William Henry Harrison was born into the William Henry Harrison family of Virginia at their homestead, Berkeley Plantation.
William Henry Harrison was a son of Benjamin Harrison V, a Founding Father of the United States.
William Henry Harrison was promoted to major general in the Army during the War of 1812, and led American infantry and cavalry to victory at the Battle of the Thames in Upper Canada.
William Henry Harrison became governor of the newly established Indiana Territory in 1801 and negotiated multiple treaties with American Indian tribes, with the nation acquiring millions of acres.
William Henry Harrison returned to private life in North Bend, Ohio, until he was nominated as one of several Whig Party nominees for president in the 1836 United States presidential election; he was defeated by Democratic vice president Martin Van Buren.
Just three weeks after his inauguration, William Henry Harrison fell ill and died days later.
William Henry Harrison is often omitted in historical presidential rankings due to his brief tenure, with the rankings where he is ranked placing him significantly below average.
William Henry Harrison's father was a Virginia planter, who served as a delegate to the Continental Congress and who signed the Declaration of Independence.
William Henry Harrison's father served in the Virginia legislature and as the fifth governor of Virginia in the years during and after the American Revolutionary War.
William Henry Harrison studied there for three years, receiving a classical education that included Latin, Greek, French, logic, and debate.
William Henry Harrison's father died in the spring of 1791, and he was placed in the care of Robert Morris, an intimate family friend in Philadelphia.
William Henry Harrison briefly studied medicine at the University of Pennsylvania with Doctor Benjamin Rush and William Shippen Sr.
William Henry Harrison therefore withdrew from medical school, though school archives record him as a "non-graduate alumnus of Penn's medical school class of 1793".
William Henry Harrison was initially assigned to Fort Washington, Cincinnati in the Northwest Territory where the army was engaged in the ongoing Northwest Indian War.
William Henry Harrison was promoted to lieutenant after Major General "Mad Anthony" Wayne took command of the western army in 1792, following a disastrous defeat under Arthur St Clair.
At his mother's death in 1793, William Henry Harrison inherited a portion of his family's Virginia estate, including approximately 3,000 acres of land and several slaves.
William Henry Harrison was serving in the Army at the time and sold the land to his brother.
William Henry Harrison met Anna Tuthill Symmes of North Bend, Ohio in 1795 when he was 22.
William Henry Harrison was a daughter of Anna Tuthill and Judge John Cleves Symmes, who served as a colonel in the Revolutionary War and as a representative to the Congress of the Confederation.
William Henry Harrison asked the judge for permission to marry Anna but was refused, so the couple waited until Symmes left on business.
William Henry Harrison responded, "by my sword, and my own right arm, sir".
Professor Kenneth R Janken, in his biography of Walter Francis White, claims that Harrison had six children by an enslaved African-American woman named Dilsia and gave four of them to a brother before running for president to avoid scandal.
William Henry Harrison had many friends in the eastern aristocracy and quickly gained a reputation among them as a frontier leader.
William Henry Harrison ran a successful horse-breeding enterprise that won him acclaim throughout the Northwest Territory.
Congress had legislated a territorial policy that led to high land costs, a primary concern for settlers in the Territory; William Henry Harrison became their champion to lower those prices.
William Henry Harrison campaigned to encourage further migration to the territory, which eventually led to statehood.
William Henry Harrison had no authority to vote on legislative bills, but he was permitted to serve on a committee, to submit legislation, and to engage in debate.
William Henry Harrison became chairman of the Committee on Public Lands and promoted the Land Act of 1800, which made it easier to buy Northwest Territory land in smaller tracts at a lower cost.
William Henry Harrison was instrumental in arranging the division of the Territory into two sections.
William Henry Harrison served in this capacity for twelve years.
William Henry Harrison's governorship was confirmed by the Senate and he resigned from Congress to become the first Indiana territorial governor in 1801.
William Henry Harrison began his duties on January 10,1801, at Vincennes, the capital of the Indiana Territory.
In 1804, William Henry Harrison was assigned to administer the civilian government of the District of Louisiana.
William Henry Harrison conducted the district's affairs for five weeks until the Louisiana Territory was formally established on July 4,1805, and Brigadier General James Wilkinson assumed the duties of governor.
In 1805, William Henry Harrison built a plantation-style home near Vincennes that he named Grouseland, in tribute to the birds on the property.
William Henry Harrison founded a university at Vincennes in 1801, which was incorporated as Vincennes University on November 29,1806.
The territorial capital was eventually moved to Corydon in 1813, and William Henry Harrison built a second home at nearby William Henry Harrison Valley.
William Henry Harrison was eager to expand the territory for personal reasons, as his political fortunes were tied to Indiana's eventual statehood.
When William Henry Harrison was reappointed as the Indiana territorial governor on February 8,1803, he was given expanded authority to negotiate and conclude treaties with the Indians.
William Henry Harrison thought that the Treaty of Grouseland appeased some of the Indians, but tensions remained high along the frontier.
William Henry Harrison was able to conduct matters unquestioned by the government, as the administration changed hands from Jefferson to Madison.
William Henry Harrison pursued the treaty process aggressively, offering large subsidies to the tribes and their leaders, so as to gain political favor with Jefferson before his departure.
In 1805, William Henry Harrison succeeded in acquiring for the nation as many as 51,000,000 acres from the Indians, after plying five of their chiefs with alcohol, for no more than a penny per 200 acres, and comprising two-thirds of Illinois and sizable chunks of Wisconsin and Missouri.
William Henry Harrison donated $100 to encourage Lemen with abolition and other good works, and later another $20 to help fund the church known as Bethel Baptist Church.
William Henry Harrison found himself at odds with the legislature after the abolitionists came to power, and the eastern portion of the Indiana Territory grew to include a large anti-slavery population.
William Henry Harrison encouraged resistance by telling the tribes to pay white traders only half of what they owed and to give up all the white man's ways, including their clothing, muskets, and especially whiskey.
William Henry Harrison received word of the resistance through spies he had placed within the tribes, and asked Madison to fund military preparations.
William Henry Harrison asked Harrison to nullify it and warned that Americans should not attempt to settle the lands sold in the treaty.
William Henry Harrison said that the individual tribes were the owners of the land and could sell it as they wished.
William Henry Harrison rejected Tecumseh's claim that all the Indians formed one nation and said that each tribe could have separate relations with the United States if they chose to do so.
William Henry Harrison argued that the Great Spirit would have made all the tribes speak one language if they were to be one nation.
Tecumseh launched an "impassioned rebuttal", in the words of one historian, but William Henry Harrison was unable to understand his language.
Tecumseh then began shouting at William Henry Harrison and called him a liar.
William Henry Harrison drew his sword, and Tecumseh's warriors backed down when the officers presented their firearms in his defense.
William Henry Harrison was concerned that Tecumseh's actions would endanger the statehood of Indiana, as well as his political future, leaving it "the haunt of a few wretched savages".
William Henry Harrison countered and defeated the tribal forces at Prophetstown next to the Wabash and Tippecanoe Rivers; the battle became famous and he was hailed as a national hero.
When reporting to Secretary Eustis, William Henry Harrison had informed him of the battle near the Tippecanoe River and that he had anticipated an attack.
Eustis demanded to know why William Henry Harrison had not taken adequate precautions in fortifying his camp against the initial attack, and William Henry Harrison said that he had considered the position strong enough.
Congress declared war on June 18,1812, and William Henry Harrison left Vincennes to seek a military appointment.
William Henry Harrison was succeeded by John Gibson as acting governor of the territory.
William Henry Harrison received orders to retake Detroit and boost morale, but he initially held back, unwilling to press the war northward.
William Henry Harrison named it Fort Meigs in honor of Ohio governor Return J Meigs Jr.
William Henry Harrison then received reinforcements in 1813, took the offensive, and led the army north to battle.
William Henry Harrison won victories in the Indiana Territory as well as Ohio and recaptured Detroit before invading Upper Canada.
William Henry Harrison's army defeated the British, and Tecumseh was killed, on October 5,1813, at the Battle of the Thames.
William Henry Harrison resigned from the army in 1814, shortly before the conclusion of the War of 1812, and returned to his family and farm in North Bend, Ohio.
Freehling claims that his expenses then well exceeded his means and he fell into debt, that William Henry Harrison chose "celebrity over duty", as he sought the adulation found at parties in New York, Washington, and Philadelphia, and that he became an office seeker.
William Henry Harrison was elected in 1816 to complete John McLean's term in the House of Representatives, representing Ohio's 1st congressional district until 1819.
William Henry Harrison attempted to secure the post as Secretary of War under President Monroe in 1817 but lost out to John C Calhoun.
William Henry Harrison was passed over for a diplomatic post to Russia.
William Henry Harrison was elected to the Ohio State Senate in 1819 and served until 1821, having lost the election for Ohio governor in 1820.
William Henry Harrison ran in the 1822 election for the United States House of Representatives, but lost to James W Gazlay.
William Henry Harrison was appointed in 1828 as minister plenipotentiary to Gran Colombia, so he resigned from Congress and served in his new post until March 8,1829.
William Henry Harrison arrived in Bogota on December 22,1828, and found the condition of Colombia saddening.
William Henry Harrison reported to the Secretary of State that the country was on the edge of anarchy, and that Simon Bolivar was about to become a military dictator.
William Henry Harrison wrote a letter of polite rebuke to Bolivar, stating that "the strongest of all governments is that which is most free" and calling on Bolivar to encourage the development of democracy.
William Henry Harrison, after leaving his post but while still in the country, wrote his roughly ten-page letter to Bolivar, which is reproduced in full in the Hall and Burr biographies.
William Henry Harrison returned to the United States and his North Bend farm, living in relative privacy after nearly four decades of government service.
William Henry Harrison had accumulated no substantial wealth during his lifetime, and he lived on his savings, a small pension, and the income produced by his farm.
In May of 1817, William Henry Harrison served as one of the founding vestry members of the Episcopal congregation, Christ Church in downtown Cincinnati.
William Henry Harrison went on to serve as a vestry member through 1819, and then again in 1824.
William Henry Harrison stepped into the barouche but the crowd pressed forward so impetuously, that the horses became frightened and reared frequently.
William Henry Harrison was the western Whig candidate for president in 1836, one of four regional Whig party candidates.
William Henry Harrison ran in all the non-slave states except Massachusetts, and in the slave states of Delaware, Maryland, and Kentucky.
William Henry Harrison faced incumbent Van Buren as the sole Whig candidate in the 1840 election.
The Whigs saw in William Henry Harrison a born southerner and war hero, who would contrast well with the aloof, uncaring, and aristocratic Van Buren.
William Henry Harrison was chosen over more controversial members of the party, such as Clay and Webster; his campaign highlighted his military record and focused on the weak US economy caused by the Panic of 1837.
The Democrats, in turn, ridiculed the elder William Henry Harrison by calling him "Granny William Henry Harrison, the petticoat general", because he resigned from the army before the War of 1812 ended.
William Henry Harrison came from a wealthy, slaveholding Virginia family, yet his campaign promoted him as a humble frontiersman in the style popularized by Andrew Jackson, while presenting Van Buren as a wealthy elitist.
William Henry Harrison won a landslide victory in the Electoral College, 234 electoral votes to Van Buren's 60.
When William Henry Harrison came to Washington, he wanted to show that he was still the steadfast hero of Tippecanoe and that he was a better educated and more thoughtful man than the backwoods caricature portrayed in the campaign.
William Henry Harrison took the oath of office on Thursday, March 4,1841, a cold and wet day.
William Henry Harrison braved the chilly weather and chose not to wear an overcoat or a hat, rode on horseback to the grand ceremony, and then delivered the longest inaugural address in American history at 8,445 words.
William Henry Harrison intended to rely on the judgment of Congress in legislative matters, using his veto power only if an act were unconstitutional, and to reverse Jackson's spoils system of executive patronage.
William Henry Harrison promised to use patronage to create a qualified staff, not to enhance his own standing in government, and under no circumstance would he run for a second term.
William Henry Harrison condemned the financial excesses of the prior administration and pledged not to interfere with congressional financial policy.
All in all, William Henry Harrison committed to a weak presidency, deferring to "the First Branch", the Congress, in keeping with Whig principles.
William Henry Harrison addressed the nation's already hotly debated issue of slavery.
William Henry Harrison declared he would only serve for one term in office and not abuse his veto power.
William Henry Harrison was against devising financial schemes for the nation, rather he left that wholly to Congress.
William Henry Harrison was against agitating the Southern United States on the slavery question.
William Henry Harrison did not discuss the tariff and distribution.
William Henry Harrison said little of the national bank, except he mentioned he was open to paper money, rather than metallic currency.
William Henry Harrison ignored his own platform plank of overturning the "spoils" system and attempted to influence Harrison's actions before and during his brief presidency, especially in putting forth his own preferences for Cabinet offices and other presidential appointments.
William Henry Harrison appeared to give Webster's supporters some highly coveted patronage positions.
William Henry Harrison was advised to have an administration in place before the inauguration but declined, wanting to focus on the festivities.
William Henry Harrison took seriously his pledge to reform executive appointments, visiting each of the six cabinet departments to observe its operations and issuing through Webster an order that electioneering by employees would be considered grounds for dismissal.
William Henry Harrison resisted pressure from other Whigs over partisan patronage.
William Henry Harrison had been physically worn down by many persistent office seekers and a demanding social schedule.
On Wednesday, March 24,1841, William Henry Harrison took his daily morning walk to local markets, without a coat or hat.
William Henry Harrison was then administered laudanum, opium, and camphor, along with wine and brandy.
Tyler did compliment William Henry Harrison by saying William Henry Harrison had been elected for a "great work" of purging the federal government of corruption.
William Henry Harrison's death called attention to an ambiguity in Article II, Section 1, Clause 6 of the Constitution regarding succession to the presidency.
William Henry Harrison's cabinet insisted that Tyler was "Vice President acting as President".
William Henry Harrison died nearly penniless, and Congress voted his wife Anna a presidential widow's pension of $25,000, one year of William Henry Harrison's salary.
William Henry Harrison received the right to mail letters free of charge.