Inauguration of William Henry Harrison

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First Presidential Inauguration of William Henry Harrison
Harrison inauguration.jpg
Date March 4, 1841; 174 years ago (1841-03-04)
Location Washington, D.C.
U.S. Capitol
Participants William Henry Harrison

The inauguration of William Henry Harrison as the ninth President of the United States took place on March 4, 1841. The inauguration marked the commencement of the only four-year term of William Henry Harrison as President and John Tyler as Vice President.


Harrison's inauguration was marked by several novelties; he was the first president-elect to arrive in Washington, D.C. by train, and for the first time an official inaugural committee of citizens had formed to plan the day's parade and Inaugural ball.[1]

The day of Harrison's inauguration was overcast with cold wind and a noon temperature estimated to be 48.5 degrees Fahrenheit.[1] Harrison chose to not wear an overcoat, hat, or gloves for the ceremony.[1] Sworn-in by Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger B. Taney on the East Portico of the United States Capitol, Harrison proceeded to deliver the longest inaugural address in American history, running 8,445 words.[1] Harrison wrote the entire speech himself, though it was edited by soon-to-be Secretary of State, Daniel Webster. Webster said afterwards that in the process of reducing the text, he had "killed seventeen Roman proconsuls."[2]

That evening Harrison attended three inaugural balls, including one at Carusi's Saloon entitled the "Tippecanoe" ball, which at a price of US$10 per person attracted 1000 guests.[3]

On March 26, Harrison developed a cold. According to the prevailing medical misconception of that time, it was believed that his illness was directly caused by the bad weather at his inauguration; however, Harrison's illness did not arise until more than three weeks after the event.[4] Despite doctors' attempts at treating him, he died on April 4, making his 32-day tenure the shortest in history.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Inauguration of President William Henry Harrison, 1841". Joint Congressional Committee on Inauguration Ceremonies. Retrieved 2009-01-21. 
  2. ^ Howe, Daniel Walker (2007). What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848. Oxford University Press US. p. 570. ISBN 978-0-19-507894-7. 
  3. ^ "Harrison's Inauguration". American Treasures of the Library of Congress. Retrieved 2009-01-21. 
  4. ^ Cleaves, Freeman (1939). Old Tippecanoe: William Henry Harrison and His Time. New York, NY: C. Scribner's Sons. 

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