William Henry Harrison

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William Henry Harrison

William Henry Harrison (February 9, 1773April 4, 1841) was the ninth President of the United States. Harrison first gained national fame as a war hero, defeating American Indians at the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811 and earning the nickname "Tippecanoe" (or "Old Tippecanoe"). Harrison died exactly one month into his term, making his presidency briefer than any before or since. He was also the first U.S. president to die in office.

Quotes[edit]

  • The strongest of all governments is that which is most free.
    • Letter to Simón Bolívar (27 September 1829). Quoted in James Hall, A Memoir of the Public Services of William Henry Harrison, of Ohio (Philadelphia, PA: Key & Biddle, 1836).
  • ...there is nothing more corrupting, nothing more destructive of the noblest and finest feelings of our nature, than the exercise of unlimited power.
    • Letter to Simón Bolívar (27 September 1829). Quoted in The Life of Major-General William Henry Harrison: Comprising a Brief Account of His Important Civil and Military Services (Philadelphia, PA: Grigg & Elliot, 1840)
  • It is necessary, therefore, to watch, not the political opponents of the administration, but the administration itself, and to see that it keeps within the bounds of the Constitution and the laws of the land. The executive of the Union has immense power to do mischief if he sees fit to exercise that power. He may prostrate the country. Indeed this country has been already prostrated. It has already fallen from pure republicanism to a monarchy in spirit if not in name.
    • Speech at Fort Meigs (11 June 1840). Quoted in A B Norton, The Great Revolution of 1840: Reminiscences of the Log Cabin and Hard Cider Campaign. (Mount Vernon, OH and Dallas, TX: A B Norton & Co, 1888). p.186
  • The only legitimate right to govern is an express grant of power from the governed.
    • Inaugural address (March 4, 1841).
  • …it is preposterous to suppose that a thought could for a moment have been entertained that the President, placed at the capital, in the center of the country, could better understand the wants and wishes of the people than their own immediate representatives, who spend a part of every year among them, living with them, often laboring with them, and bound to them by the triple tie of interest, duty, and affection.
    • Inaugural address (March 4, 1841).
  • Sir, I wish you to understand the true principles of the government. I wish them carried out. I ask nothing more.
    • Final words. Quoted in Jebediah Whitman, "A Memorial to Our Dear Departed President (New Ark, DE: Printed by the Author, 1841).