1841 the year of three US Presidents

Some people think that 2016 must have been the most bizarre year in US politics.But they’d be wrong.

175 years ago 1841 was the year where there were 3 serving us Presidents.

Martin Van Buren (December 5, 1782 – July 24, 1862) was an American politician who served as the eighth President of the United States  In office March 4, 1837 – March 4, 1841.

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Of Dutch ancestry, Van Buren learned early to interact with people from multiple ethnic, income, and societal groups, which he used to his advantage as a political organizer. A meticulous dresser, he could mingle in upper class society as well as in saloon environments like the tavern his father ran.A delegate to a political convention at age 18, he quickly moved from local to state politics, gaining fame both as a political organizer and an accomplished lawyer. Elected to the Senate by the state legislature in 1821, Van Buren supported William H. Crawford for president in the 1824 election, but by 1828 had come to support General Andrew Jackson. Van Buren was a major supporter and organizer for Jackson in the 1828 election. Jackson was elected, and made Van Buren Secretary of State.

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He was a member of the Democratic Party, he served in a number of senior roles, including eighth Vice President (1833–37) and tenth Secretary of State(1829–31), both under Andrew Jackson. Van Buren’s inability as president to deal with the deep economic depression following the Panic of 1837 and with the surging Whig Party led to his defeat in the 1840 election.

William Henry Harrison, Sr. (February 9, 1773 – April 4, 1841) was the ninth President of the United States (1841), an American military officer and politician, and the last president born as a British subject.In office March 4, 1841 – April 4, 1841

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He took the oath of office on March 4, 1841, a cold and wet day.He wore neither an overcoat nor hat, rode on horseback to the ceremony rather than in the closed carriage that had been offered him, and delivered the longest inaugural address in American history. At 8,445 words, it took him nearly two hours to read, although his friend and fellow Whig Daniel Webster had edited it for length.

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Harrison then rode through the streets in the inaugural parade,and that evening attended three inaugural balls, including one at Carusi’s Saloon entitled the “Tippecanoe” ball, which at a price of US$10 per person (equal to $230 today) attracted 1000 guests.

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On March 26, 1841, Harrison became ill with a cold. Allegedly his illness was caused by the bad weather at his inauguration; however, Harrison’s illness did not arise until more than three weeks after the event. The cold worsened, rapidly turning to pneumonia and pleurisy. Harrison tried to rest in the White House, but could not find a quiet room because of the steady crowd of office seekers. His extremely busy social schedule also made rest time scarce.

Harrison’s doctors tried several cures, such as applying opium, castor oil, leeches, and Virginia snakeweed, but the treatments only made Harrison worse and he became delirious. He died nine days after becoming ill, at 12:30 a.m. on April 4, 1841. Harrison’s doctor, Thomas Miller, diagnosed Harrison’s cause of death as “pneumonia of the lower lobe of the right lung.” A medical analysis made in 2014 concluded that he instead died of enteric fever. (The authors of the 2014 study based their findings on the president’s symptoms and the close proximity of the White House to a dumping ground for sewage and human waste.)

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Harrison became the first United States president to die in office. His last words were to his doctor, but it is assumed that they were directed at Vice President Tyler: “Sir, I wish you to understand the true principles of the government. I wish them carried out. I ask nothing more.” Harrison served the shortest term of any American president: March 4 – April 4, 1841, 30 days, 12 hours, and 30 minutes.

Harrison’s funeral took place in the Wesley Chapel in Cincinnati, Ohio, on April 7, 1841. His original interment was in the public vault of the Congressional Cemetery in Washington, D.C., but his remains were later buried in North Bend, Ohio. The William Henry Harrison Tomb State Memorial was erected at the grave site in his honor.

John Tyler (March 29, 1790 – January 18, 1862) was the tenth President of the United States (1841–45).In office April 4, 1841 – March 4, 1845.

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Tyler became president after Harrison’s death in April 1841, only a month after the start of the new administration. Known to that point as a supporter of states’ rights, which endeared him to his fellow Virginians, his actions as president showed that he was willing to back nationalist policies as long as they did not infringe on the powers of the states. Still, the circumstances of his unexpected rise to the presidency, and its threat to the presidential ambitions of  politicians, left him estranged from both major parties. A firm believer in manifest destiny, President Tyler sought to strengthen and preserve the Union through territorial expansion, most notably the annexation of the independent Republic of Texas in his last days in office.

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Harrison’s death made Tyler the first vice president to succeed to the presidency without being elected to the office. Because of the short duration of Harrison’s one-month term, Tyler served longer than any president in U.S. history who was never elected to the office.

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One thought on “1841 the year of three US Presidents

  1. Pingback: The US Presidential inauguration | History of Sorts

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