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Home > History > President 9 - William Henry Harrison - Presidents Series

President 9 - William Henry Harrison - Presidents Series

This is a full biography on William Henry Harrison. It is part of our presidents series.
William Henry Harrison

William Henry Harrison

9th President

Early Life

William Henry Harrison was born into an influential political family on February 9, 1773, in Charles City County, Virginia. Harrison's father was a wealthy Virginia planter who signed the Declaration of Independence and later became governor of Virginia.

Mentored by "Mad" Anthony Wayne

Harrison attended Hampden-Sydney College and studied classics and history. He next moved to Richmond to study medicine. In 1791, after the death of his father, Harrison stopped studying medicine and joined the US Army. He was sent to the Northwest Territory (present-day Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois), where he served as an aide to 'Mad' Anthony Wayne. Under Wayne, Harrison learned how to command an army of frontier soldiers.

The Battle of Tippecanoe

In 1798, Harrison resigned from the US Army and became Secretary of the Northwest Territory. In 1799, Harrison was elected as a delegate representing the Northwest Territory in Congress. After helping to gain passage of the Harrison Land Act, which made it easier for settlers to buy land in the Northwest Territory, Harrison resigned as a delegate from Congress and became governor of the Northwest Territory. As governor, Harrison secured a vast expanse of land at the expense of the Indians who inhabited it. Indian resistance, under the leadership of Tecumseh and Tenskwatawa, would soon become violent. In 1811, Harrison and 1,000 soldiers marched to Prophetstown, Indiana (an Indian village), for the purposes of removing the Indians. An epic battle ensued known as the Battle of Tippecanoe, in which Harrison and his men massacred the Indians. Later, in the War of 1812, Harrison commanded an army that routed the British at the Battle of Thames (in present-day Ontario). Harrison instantly became a war hero.

9th President

After serving in both the Ohio Senate and House of Representatives, Harrison was elected to the US Senate. He served in the Senate until he was appointed Minister to Colombia in 1828. In 1836, Harrison ran for president of the United States but was defeated by Martin Van Buren. In 1840, Harrison again ran for president and was elected in a landslide victory. Harrison's vice president was John Tyler. Their catchy campaign slogan 'Tippecanoe and Tyler too" is one of the most famous in American history.

A Poster Showing William Henry Harrison's Many Accomplishments
A Poster Showing Harrison's Many Accomplishments

Shortest Presidency

Harrison took office on March 4, 1841. That day, Harrison delivered the longest inaugural speech in American history - in the bitter cold. Harrison quickly developed a cold, which turned into pneumonia. Despite intensive medical treatment, Harrison died just one month later. He was the first president to die in office. To this day, his presidency was the shortest in American history - 32 days.

United States Presidents

 1. George Washington  16. Abraham Lincoln  32. Franklin D. Roosevelt
 2. John Adams  17. Andrew Johnson  33. Harry S. Truman
 3. Thomas Jefferson  18. Ulysses S. Grant  34. Dwight D. Eisenhower 
 4. James Madison  19. Rutherford B. Hayes  35. John F. Kennedy
 5. James Monroe  20. James A. Garfield  36. Lyndon B. Johnson
 6. John Quincy Adams  21. Chester A. Arthur  37. Richard Nixon
 7. Andrew Jackson  22/24. Grover Cleveland  38. Gerald R. Ford
 8. Martin Van Buren  23. Benjamin Harrison  39. Jimmy Carter
 9. William Henry Harrison  25. William McKinley  40. Ronald Reagan
10. John Tyler  26. Theodore Roosevelt  41. George H.W. Bush
11. James K. Polk  27. William Howard Taft  42. Bill Clinton
12. Zachary Taylor  28. Woodrow Wilson  43. George W. Bush
13. Millard Fillmore  29. Warren G. Harding  44. Barack Obama
14. Franklin Pierce  30. Calvin Coolidge  45. Donald J. Trump
15. James Buchanan  31. Herbert Hoover  


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