| This Country of Ours|
|by H. E. Marshall|
|Stories from the history of the United States beginning with a full account of exploration and settlement and ending with the presidency of Woodrow Wilson. The 99 chapters are grouped under 7 headings: Stories of Explorers and Pioneers, Stories of Virginia, Stories of New England, Stories of the Middle and Southern Colonies, Stories of the French in America, Stories of the Struggle for Liberty, and Stories of the United States under the Constitution. Ages 10-14 |
HARRISON—THE HERO OF TIPPECANOE
 PEOPLE had grown to dislike Van Buren so much that he had no chance
of being elected a second time, and the next President was General
Harrison. Never before or since perhaps has there been so much
excitement over the election of a President. For Van Buren's friends
tried very hard to have him re-elected, and Harrison's friends
worked just as hard on his behalf.
Harrison was the general who had led his men to victory at Tippecanoe,
and he immediately became first favourite with the people. He was
an old man now of nearly seventy, and since he had left the army
had been living quietly on his farm in the country.
So one of Van Buren's friends said scornfully that Harrison was much
more fit to live in a log cabin and drink hard cider than live in
the White House and be President.
It was meant as a sneer, but Harrison's good friends took it up.
Log Cabin and Hard Cider became their warcry, and the election
was known as the Log Cabin and Hard Cider campaign. And soon many
simple country people came to believe that Harrison really lived in
a log cabin, and that he was poor, and had to work for his living
even as an old man.
All sorts of songs were made and sung about this gallant old farmer.
"Oh, know ye the farmer of Tippecanoe?
The gallant old farmer of Tippecanoe?
With an arm that is strong and a heart that is true,
The man of the people is Tippecanoe."
 That is the beginning of one song and there were dozens more like
And while the old farmer of Tippecanoe was said to be everything
that was good and honest and lovable Van Buren on the other hand
was represented as being a bloated aristocrat, who sat in chairs
that cost six hundred dollars, ate off silver plates with golden
forks and spoons, and drove about in an English coach with a haughty
smile on his face.
It was a time of terrible excitement, and each side gave the
other many hard knocks. But in the end Harrison was elected by two
hundred and thirty-four electoral votes to Van Buren's sixty. As
Vice-President John Tyler was chosen. "Tippecanoe and Tyler too"
had been one of the election cries.
Inauguration day was bleak and cold, rain threatened and a chill wind
blew. But in spite of unkind weather Harrison's friends arranged
a grand parade. And mounted on a white horse the new President rode
for two hours through the streets. Then for another hour he stood
in the chill wind reading his address to the people.
All the time he wore no overcoat. Because, it is said, rumours were
spread abroad that he was not strong, and he wanted to show that
he was. When the long ceremony was at length over he was thoroughly
chilled, but no serious illness followed.
It was soon seen, however, that he could not bear the strain of his
great office. He had never been strong. Of late years he had been
used to a quiet country life, seeing few people and taking things
Now from morning till night he lived in a whirl. He was besieged
with people who wanted posts. For the spoils system being once
begun every President was almost forced to continue it. And never
before had any President been beset by such a buzzing crowd.
 Harrison was a kindly old man, and he would gladly have given
offices to all who asked. It grieved him that he could not. But
he was honest, too, and he tried to be just in making these new
appointments. So his days were full of worry and anxious thought.
Soon under the heavy burden he fell ill. And just a month after
his inauguration he died.
Never before had a President died in office, and it was a shock to
the whole people. Every one grieved, for even those who had been
his political enemies and worked hard to prevent his election loved
the good old man. Death stilled every whisper of anger against
him, and, united in sorrow, the whole nation mourned his loss and
followed him reverently to the grave.
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