William Henry Harrison

William Henry Harrison

9th President of the United States
Terms: 1 Time in office: March 4, 1842- March 4, 1845
Vice President: John Tyler
Preceded by: Martin Van Buren
Succeeded by: Henry Clay
United States Senator from Ohio
In office:
March 4, 1825 – May 20, 1828
Preceded by: Ethan Allan Brown
Succeeded by: Jacob Burnet
1st Governor of Indiana Territory
In office:
Preceded by: none
Succeeded by: John Gibson (acting)
Born: February 9, 1773
Charles City County, Colony of Virginia
Nationality: American
Political party: Whig
Spouse: Anna Symmes Harrison
Alma mater: Hampton Sydney College
University of Pennsylvania
Occupation: Soldier, Politician
Religion: Episcopal)
Signature: W.H.Harrison Signature
Military service
Allegiance: United States of America
Service/branch: United States Army
Years of service: 1791-1797, 1812-1814
Rank: Brigadier General
Battles/wars: Northwest Indian War
Tecumseh's War
War of 1812:
Battle of the Thames

"OTL" Description: In 1841, William Henry Harrison became the 9th President of the United States. However, his term was to last only 30 days, after dying in office from pneumonia. Consequently, he is often forgotten and achieved next to nothing. But now suppose that he had not died? What would a Harrison Presidency have been like?

Early Life

Family and Childhood

Harrison was born into a prominent political family on the Berkeley Plantation in Charles City County Virginia, the youngest of the seven children of Benjamin Harrison V and Elizabeth Bassett. His father was a Virginia planter who served as a delegate to the Continental Congress (1774–1777), signed the Declaration of Independence (1776), and was governor of Virginia (1781-1784).[1] William Henry Harrison's brother, Carter Bassett Harrison, later became a member of the United States House of Representatives, representing Virginia. Harrison's father-in-law was Congressman John Cleves Symmes. His stepmother-in-law was the daughter of New Jersey Governor William Livingston. He was the first cousin of Congressman Burwell Bassett on his mother's side. Harrison was the last president who was born a British subject.[2]

At age 21 Harrison entered Hampden-Sydney College, but was removed by his father after he became involved with anti-slavery, Methodists and Quakers. Later, Harrison attended the University of Pennsylvania, and began the study of medicine under Dr. Benjamin Rush. As he explained in his biography, he did not enjoy the profession of medicine; when his father died in 1791, he was left without money for further schooling. Harrison was 18 when his father died, and he was left in the guardianship of Robert Morris. In 1793 Harrison's mother died, and he inherited a portion of the family's estate, including about three thousand acres of land and several slaves. Harrison sold his land to his brother after he entered the army.

In 1795 Harrison met Anna Symmes, of North Bend, Ohio. She was the daughter of Judge John Cleves Symmes, a prominent figure in Ohio. When Harrison approached the Judge asking permission to marry Anna, he was refused. Harrison waited until the Judge left on business, then he and Anna eloped and were married on November 25, 1795. After the marriage, the Judge was concerned about Harrison's ability to provide for Anna, and sold to the young couple 160 acres of land in North Bend. Together the couple had ten children, six sons and four daughters. Nine lived into adulthood and one died in infancy. Anna was frequently in poor health during the marriage, mainly due to her frequent pregnancy. However, she outlived William by 23 years, dying age 88 on February 25, 1864.

Early Military Career

Early Political Career


Post War Life

1836 Presidential Campaign

1840 Presidential Campaign


The Republic of Texas

Harrison never annexed Texas, simply because he did not wish to provoke war with Mexico. However, his stance was hailed by many in the north against slavery, and vexed many in the south, who had hoped to welcome Texas as another slave state.

On March 5,1842 - Mexican troops led by Rafael Vasquez invade Texas, briefly occupy San Antonio, and then head back to the Rio Grande. This was the first such invasion since the Texas Revolution.

Second Bank of the United States

On August 16, Harrison signed a bill which re-established the Second Bank of America.

The Tariff of 1842

This bill raised the tariff on foreign goods to 40%. It resulted in a reduction of international trade by about 50% but increased industry in America. It was signed as part of the Whig's party leader Henry Clay's economic policy called the "American Plan".

Dorr Rebellion

Supreme Court Appointments

On December 18, 1843, United States Supreme Court Associate Justice Smith Thompson died. Harrison nominated Willis Hall, Attorney General of New York from 1839-1842. The Senate approved the nomination with a vote of 31-16.

States Admitted to the Union

On Harrison’s last full day in office, March 3, 1845, Florida became the 27th state.

The Election of 1844

"Under no circumstances will I consent to serve a second term."

True to his word, Harrison did not seek a second term as President in 1844.

The Whig Party nominated Kentucky Senator Henry Clay as their Presidential Candidate and Theodore Frelinghuysen as his running mate.

The Democratic Party nominated Michigan Senator Lewis Cass as their Presidential Candidate and James K Polk as his running mate.

Clay: 1,389,345 Cass: 1,242,980

Clay: 182 Cass: 93


During his administration, opinions of Harrison differed mainly based on party lines. Whigs hailed him as a hero, while Democrats and others viewed his as a weak man who voted however his party wanted.

Historians rank him 31st out of 43 Presidents.

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