We Need More Statesmen Like William Henry Harrison

William Henry HarrisonAlbert Sands Southworth and Josiah Johnson Hawes/Public DomainOn this Presidents Day, let's have a shout-out to William Henry Harrison, a man who was a true statesman as president of the United States. He was a statesman, at least, by the definition of Bloom County's Opus the penguin, who noted, "Statesmen are dead politicians. Lord knows we need more statesmen." Inaugurated on March 4, 1841, Harrison died of pneumonia just one month later.

Harrison's official biography on the White House website notes:

When he arrived in Washington in February 1841, Harrison let Daniel Webster edit his Inaugural Address, ornate with classical allusions. Webster obtained some deletions, boasting in a jolly fashion that he had killed "seventeen Roman proconsuls as dead as smelts, every one of them."

Webster had reason to be pleased, for while Harrison was nationalistic in his outlook, he emphasized in his Inaugural that he would be obedient to the will of the people as expressed through Congress.

But before he had been in office a month, he caught a cold that developed into pneumonia. On April 4, 1841, he died -- the first President to die in office—and with him died the Whig program.

This means the the new president had time to make a flowery speech—and who doesn't like a good speech, especialy in the days before national television networks, when nobody outside D.C. even had the ability to actually listen to them. He then had the good grace to expire before actually doing anything. Then, his vice president and successor, John Tyler, broke with Whig policies (which were a mixed and even incoherent bag, but generally favored protectionism and a stronger national government) and also prevented much from getting done.

Let's hear it for a statesman!

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  • Fist of Etiquette||

    ...he would be obedient to the will of the people as expressed through Congress.

    Yeah, that's where the will of the people is expressed.

    And it sounds like federal agents need to pay a visit to Opus the penguin.

  • Aloysious||

    I wish them luck. Opus is protected by a x-15 cruise Basselope.

  • Protagoronus||

    Without morning links, where will people discuss Scalia's ruling on Deep Dish!!!1!one

  • Aloysious||

    Logical fallacy. Appeal to authority.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    I, for one, am thankful we get a reprieve from the shitshow that is the Morning Links.

  • mr simple||

    Deep dish one? Is that what they call the President's oven?

  • mr simple||

    There is no President's day, 2chili. It's Washington's birthday (observed).

  • mad libertarian guy||

    On this day of all days there are no Morning Links? The Reason staff ought to be ashamed for taking fucking Presidents Day off.

    Y'all ought to be at work with a blog on every president and how much of an asshole he inevitably was. Kudos to 2Chili for taking the time to inform us that the best president was the one who died a month in to his term.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Don't blame Tooksy. If there are no new 24/7 posts, there can be no links.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    I don't blame 2Chili. I blame Welch. Is there not an intern he can get to cobble together some goddamn links?

  • The Late P Brooks||

    I, for one, am thankful we get a reprieve from the shitshow that is the Morning Links.

    Poor baby.

  • Almanian!||

    I always forget about Harrison. He's my new fave. Sorry, Grover Cleveland.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Harrison's corpse would make a better president than Barack Obama.

  • NL_||

    Tyler was big on Manifest Destiny and slavery, and joined the Confederate government. It's useful to have more presidents we all agree were shitty human beings, thereby tarnishing all the future officeholders that much more.

  • Free Society||

    "Statesmen are dead politicians. Lord knows we need more statesmen."

    I love you reason and this is why. Mr Tucille, when this is all over, we should get an apartment together.

  • juris imprudent||

    I declare this thread as dead as William Henry Harrison.

  • Robert||

    Whig policies (which were a mixed and even incoherent bag,


    Isn't that generally true of major parties? How else can they assemble coalitions large enough to keep them major parties?

  • Russell||

    Four More Weeks !

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