William Henry Harrison: Not an Idiot

If you're like me, you grew up thinking that Harrison was an idiot.

Any guy who's best known for giving his inaugueration speech outside in the cold who catches pneumonia and dies a month later must be an idiot right?


Harrison was sort of a mix between the idealism of Thomas Jefferson and the political realism of Martin Van Buren. He carried with him the speeches of Cicero and other Greek classics, but was not above trafficking in populism to win votes during his presidential election (the log cabin and hard cider campaign)

He's a hard guy to pin down, he was known as an Indian fighter famous for defeating Tecumseh at the Battle of Tippecanoe, but in his private correspondences, he chastises his colleagues for not honoring Indian land treaties that they signed and committing atrocities against tribes.

Like Jackson, he came out west (Ohio was still the frontier when he went out there in the late 18Th century) but was not the brawling, risk taking man's man Jackson was.

He was a frontiersman who was against the excesses of drinking, gambling and dueling that he saw in his militia troops.

In short, he was a complicated individual. He did a whole lot of stuff before he was president, it's sad that he was able to do so little while he was president.

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