William Henry Harrison

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William Henry Harrison (February 9, 1773April 4, 1841) was an American military leader, politician, the ninth President of the United States, and the first President to die in office. The oldest President elected until Ronald Reagan in 1980, Harrison had served 32 days in office, still the shortest tenure in United States presidential history, before his death in April 1841 due to complications of pneumonia. His death created a brief constitutional crisis, but ultimately resolved many questions about presidential succession left unanswered by the Constitution until passage of the 25th Amendment.

Before election as President, Harrison served as the first Governor of the Indiana Territory and later as a U.S. Representative and Senator from Ohio. Harrison originally gained national fame for leading U.S. forces against American Indians at the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811, where he earned the nickname "Tippecanoe" (or "Old Tippecanoe"). As a general in the subsequent War of 1812, his most notable contribution was a victory at the Battle of the Thames in 1813, which brought the war in his region to a successful conclusion.

After the war Harrison moved to Ohio, where he was elected to United States Congress and in 1824 to the Senate, where he served a truncated term before being appointed as Minister Plenipotentiary to Colombia in May 1828. In Colombia he lectured Simon Bolivar on the finer points of democracy before returning to his farm in Ohio, where he lived in relative retirement until he was nominated for the presidency in 1836. Defeated, he retired again to his farm before accepting his second presidential nomination in 1840.

The death of William Henry Harrison

An official report at the time stated Harrison died not of pneumonia, which is the mainstream story, but really died from the treatment he was subjected to for “an ordinary winter cold.” The August 1841 edition of the Boston Medical and Surgical Journal, published just a few months after Harrison’s death, suggests that it was the medical treatment that Harrison received, and not any virus or bacteria, which caused his demise. Vice President Tyler then broke all Harrison’s campaign promises [1].


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