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Biography of William Henry Harrison


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Harrison, William Henry (1773-1841), the ninth president of the United States. He was a native of Virginia and was the son of Benjamin Harrison, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. In 1794 Harrison served in the army of Anthony Wayne and was present at the famous victory of that leader over the Indians at Maumee Rapids. When the Northwest Territory was organized Harrison was made secretary, and in 1799 he represented it in Congress. In 1800 he was appointed governor of the newly formed territory of Indiana. He was still governor when the famous outbreak of Tecumseh and his brother, the Prophet, took place. Harrison led the troops against the Indians, gaining the victory of Tippecanoe, November 7, 1811. The epithet of "Tippecanoe" stayed by him through life. In the War of 1812 he was made a major-general and took part in the operations in the West. He added to his military renown by defeating the British Proctor and Tecumseh at the battle of the Thames.

From 1816 to 1819 Harrison was in Congress. He was promoted to the Senate and served as minister to the United States of Colombia. In 1836 Harrison was nominated by the Whigs for president, but was defeated by Van Buren. In 1839 he was again nominated. The campaign of 1840 was one of the most remarkable in the history of American politics. Harrison's opponents undertook to belittle him as a man who lived in a log cabin and drank hard cider. His supporters took up the issue. A log cabin carried on the shoulders of men, and followed by a cheering crowd, was a prominent feature of the political rally. "Tippecanoe and Tyler, too," was the slogan. The Whigs swept the West like a whirlwind, fairly shouting and singing their candidates into the White House. Harrison organized his cabinet with Daniel Webster as secretary of state. The fatigue and exposure of the campaign, together with the weariness arising from the importunities of office seekers, incident to the coming of the Whigs into power for the first time, proved too much for the president. Harrison died at the end of a month of service.