William Henry Harrison
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William Henry Harrison

William Henry Harrison was born on February 9, 1773. He was born to a politically active family with five generations previous to him serving in political office. Harrison decided to become a doctor. He attended an Academy in Southampton County before entering the University of Pennsylvania Medical School. He eventually dropped out when he could no longer afford it and joined the army.

Harrison joined the army in 1791 and served until 1798. During this time, he fought in the Indian Wars in the Northwest Territory. He was hailed as a hero at the Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794 where he and his men held the line. He became a captain before resigning. After that he held public offices until he joined the military again to fight in the War of 1812.

Harrison began the War of 1812 as the Major General of the Kentucky militia and ended as Major General of the Northwest Territories. He led his forces to retake Detroit. He then defeated a force of British and Indians including Tecumseh at the Battle of the Thames. He resigned from the military in May, 1814.

Harrison had unsuccessfully run for President in 1836 and was renominated in 1840 with John Tyler as his Vice President. He was supported by President Martin Van Buren. He won the election with 234 out of 294 electoral votes. When Harrison took office, he gave the longest inaugural address ever, talking for one hour and 40 minutes. It was delivered in the cold during the month of March. He then got caught in the rain and in the end came down with a cold. His illness got worse until he finally died on April 4, 1841.