Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Tippecanoe and Tyler, too!

On this day, April 4, in 1841, the 9th President of the United States William Henry Harrison died of pneumonia after just 32 days in office.

Because there was concern for his advanced age as a candidate (he was in his sixties), Harrison and Tyler ran a very active and, some have said, boisterous campaign. They held large rallies handing out log cabin shaped bottles of hard cider to their supporters. Much of the activity on the campaign trail was to prove the fortitude of Harrison and Tyler.
Following along those lines, once elected, Harrison insisted upon taking the long ride in an open carriage and presenting a record 1-hour and 45-minute inaugural speech without wearing his overcoat despite bitterly cold, sleeting March weather. He went home the night of March 4th with a cold that quickly developed into pneumonia.

His term of office lasted just 32 days, the shortest on record. His grandson, Benjamin Harrison, would become the 23rd President and serve a full four year term of office from 1889 through 1893.

This was the first time a sitting U.S. President would die in office. The transition of power to John Tyler went remarkably smoothly, to the surprise of many.