The American Presidential Election of 1840

mr. beat presents presidential elections in American history the 14th presidential election in American history took place from Friday October 30th to Wednesday December 2nd 1840 Martin Van Buren fought for re-election during a time when the economy was not doing so well the country was in the middle of a horrible recession which began as a financial crisis referred to as the panic of 1837 due to this president Van Buren was unpopular but you know who was more unpopular his vice president Richard mentor Johnson the Democratic Party actually refused to renounce him in fact they didn't officially nominate anybody although many wanted James Polk or Littleton Hayes well the Whig party meanwhile was gaining strength and learned their lesson from the last election this time uniting behind one candidate for president William Henry Harrison not only was Harrison a well established politician but like Andrew Jackson he was a bit of a war hero Harrison's running mate was John Tyler a former senator from Virginia Harrison was the first candidate to actively campaign to be President his supporters came up with a pretty catchy slogan Tippecanoe and Tyler too get it of course you don't well basically Tippecanoe referred to Harrison's military victory over the Shawnee Indians on November 7th 1811 at the Battle of Tippecanoe because of this the Whigs aggressively organized to promote him as a war hero but the Democrats argued that Harrison was too old to be President many called him quote granny implying that maybe he was senile the Whigs fought back by portraying Martin Van Buren as a rich snob out of touch with the people and Harrison as a man of the common people from the western frontier in reality it was Harrison who was richer than Van Buren but most Americans wouldn't know that by the campaign the election of 1840 was more about in and less about substance in fact the wigs were just fine if Harrison didn't argue policy or about issues because the country was pretty divided at the time instead the Whig strategy was to avoid difficult national issues such as slavery and instead focus on how the van Buren administration ruined the economy interestingly enough the anti-masonic party also nominated William Henry Harrison for president but with Daniel Webster as his running mate instead of Tyler also one notable third party the Liberty party sprung up in 1840 with its primary goal to end slavery they ran abolitionist James Burnie for president and Thomas Earl as his running mate and here are the results William Henry Harrison won becoming the 9th President of the United States he received 234 electoral votes and 150 2.9 percent of the popular vote as matter of fact forty-two point four percent of all eligible voters voted for him the highest percentage in American history up to that time Martin Van Buren finished second receiving 60 electoral votes but 46 point eight percent of the popular vote Van Buren was so unpopular he even lost in his home state of New York James Burnie received 0.3 percent of the popular vote which proved the nation wasn't ready to end slavery yet the election was special because it was the only one in which electors cast votes for four different men who had been or would become president Van Buren Harrison Tyler who became the tenth vice president in American history and future President James Polk oops I forgot to say spoiler alert 67 year old Harrison was the oldest president elected in American history up until Ronald Reagan was elected in 1980 after Harrison was sworn in as president he gave the longest inauguration speech in American history at about one hour 45 minutes and eight thousand 445 words although the weather was cool he refused to wear a jacket the common myth is that this caused him to catch a cold which later turned into ammonia and caused him to die well he did catch a cold that turned into pneumonia and died but he didn't catch that cold until more than three weeks later so him not wearing a jacket at his inauguration speech is totally unrelated Harrison died on April 4th 1841 making his 32 days in office the shortest tenure in history because Harrison was the first president to die while in office there was some confusion as to how to carry on next the Constitution said quote in case of the removal of the president from office or of his death resignation or inability to discharge the powers and duties of the said office the same shall devolve on the vice president unquote so what does that mean well John Tyler pretty much interpreted that as I'm president now fool so what you gonna do huh I'll see you for the next election buddy