Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/William Henry Harrison

HARRISON, William Henry (17731841), ninth president of the United States, third son of Governor Benjamin Harrison, was born at Berkeley, Charles City co., Virginia, February 9, 1773. In 1792 he joined the army with the commission of ensign, and in the following year he became lieutenant and acted as aide-de-camp to Wayne in his expedition against the Western Indians. He was promoted to a captaincy in 1795, but resigned in 1797 on being appointed secretary of the North-West Territory. In 1799 he was chosen to represent that territory in congress, and after its division in 1801 he became governor of the new territory of Indiana and superintendent of negotiations with the Indians, over whom, on the breaking out of hostilities in 1811, he gained the important victory of Tippecanoe. In 1813 as major-general and commander of the north-western army he defeated the British forces at the battle of the Thames. In 1814 he concluded a treaty with the North-Western Indians, and in the same year he resigned his commission. He was elected in 1816 member of congress for Cincinnati, in 1819 member of the State senate of Ohio, in 1824 United States senator, and in 1828 minister to Colombia, an office which he held for less than a year, when he retired for a time into private life. By the urgent request of the Whigs he was induced in 1836 to stand for the presidency of the United States, and though unsuccessful, he at the next election in 1840 defeated the same candidate Van Buren by an overwhelming majority, after a canvass memorable for the extraordinary enthusiasm it awakened, and historically important for its introduction of new political methods—many of the most characteristic features of Western elections having their origin in this “Harrison campaign.” He was scarcely spared, however, to enter upon the discharge of his duties as president, dying April 4, 1841, about a month after his inauguration. Harrison published at Cincinnati in 1838 a small treatise on the Indians entitled A Discourse on the Aborigines of the Ohio Valley.