The Presidential Election 1840

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Map Code: Ax00059

While Martin Van Burren was nominated to run for a second term in office (with Richard Johnson as running mate), the Whig party chose William Henry Harrison (over Henry Clay) with John Tyler as their candidate for vice president. With the two-party political system firmly in place, the opposing campaigns involved rallies and propaganda. The Whigs played upon the depressed economic state of the country, promoting Harrison as a man of simple needs, contrasting Van Burren’s decadent reputation. They also adopted the slogan ‘Tippecanoe and Tyler too’, highlighting Harrison’s military triumph at the Battle of Tippecanoe. The Whigs’ tactic worked and Harrison won a staggering 234 electoral votes. He subsequently developed pneumonia (some say from a cold he caught while delivering his inaugural address in the rain) and was the first president to die in office, after just a month in the White House. Vice President John Tyler became president upon Harrison’s death.

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