Born: February 9, 1773 in Charles City County, Virginia
Died: April 4, 1841 in Washington, District of Columbia
Biography | show moreshow less
Harrison (1773-1841), the ninth US President, was also the last born before the Declaration of Independence, and the shortest survivor in office. Harrison had a respectable political resume as a US Representative (1816-1819), US Senator (1825-1828), Ambassador to Columbia (1828-1829), and territorial governor of the Northwest Territory, of Louisiana, and of Indiana, successively. However his successful Presidential campaign of 1840 - his second bid for the office - was based more on his military record, particularly his victory over an American Indian coalition at the Battle of Tippecanoe (1811) and against the British and Indian force in the Battle of the Thames, War of 1812. His prospects benefited from both the unpopularity of President Van Buren, and his Whig Party's image-oriented campaign for "Tippecanoe and Tyler too," falsely championing the wealthy Harrison as the "log cabin and hard cider" candidate. Without his war record, however, Harrison would have lost much of his claim to leadership, so his quick and active response in this letter to any questioning of his military record was essential. Harrison delivered the longest inaugural address in history on a bitterly cold March day, caught pneumonia, and died one month later (April 4, 1841). This elevated to the Presidency John Tyler, who opposed most of Harrison's Whig policies.

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