Harrison: Temperance

Harrison was an unlikely advocate for moderation in all things.

The fact that his early history involved coming out to the unsettled Northwest Territories (now Ohio and Indiana) after joining the military due to the difficulty of obtaining wealth in his home state of Virginia gives him a Jacksonian frontiersman feel.

He ran for one of the first effective opposition parties under the 'log cabin and hard cider' campaign which denoted a sort of good old boy/Fox News Tea Party type marketing effort.

He won the campaign in a large part because of his bravery and selfless risk taking in the battle against Tecumseh's multi tribe fighting force during the War of 1812.

All of these things would have us guess that he was more populist in nature, a real man's man. But Harrison would have preferred to be a scholar like Quincy Adams or Jefferson had his circumstances allowed it rather than a military hero like Washington or Monroe.

When he first came out to the territories to lead the army there, he was appalled by the excesses he saw in the alcohol abuse of both his own men and the resident creek Indians, the constant dueling and the lack of discipline at the military camps.

He implemented severe penalties for dueling, passed such progressive reforms as refusing to allow white merchants to accept the clothes off the tribesman's backs for alcohol (it was apparently a problem at this time that there were a bunch of Indians running around naked because they pawned their own clothing) and punished drunkenness severely.

Harrison also did his best to treat the Indians fairly, at least compared to Jackson and the other Indian fighters of the time (I know that's a pretty low bar) and even court martialed his own men when they practiced indiscriminate killing of tribesmen in retaliation for Indian raids on the white settlements.

The idea of such an Indian fighter having such a temperate lifestyle just amuses me. Hardly what I expected from 'Old Tippecanoe'.

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