This engraving depicts a William Henry Harrison Log Cabin raising in Chillicothe in May 1840. Members of the Scioto Tippecanoe Club joined with the Straight-Outs, another Whig organization, to build a log cabin council house on the corner of Paint and Main Streets. The finished building could hold one thousand people. The engraving measures 5.5 by 4.5 inches (13.97 by 11.43 cm).
Historians have described the 1840 campaign as the first modern political campaign. Harrison broke with tradition and campaigned actively for president on the Whig ticket. The log cabin became the symbol of Harrison's campaign when his Democratic opponents ridiculed him, saying he would be content to spend his days in a log cabin drinking hard cider. Harrison's supporters turned this insult around to portray Harrison as a man of the people.
Harrison was a member of a prominent Virginia family. He served as aide-de-camp to General Anthony Wayne during the Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794. After moving to the Ohio country, he became secretary of the Northwest Territory and served as the territory's first representative to Congress. In 1801, Harrison became governor of the Indiana Territory and served in that position for 12 years. Harrison achieved his greatest fame during the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811. He was planning an attack on an Indian settlement known as Prophet's town. Instead, the Indians attacked Harrison's camp on the Tippecanoe River. Harrison's troops repulsed the Indians, but suffered almost 200 dead and wounded. During the War of 1812, Harrison commanded the Army of the Northwest and attained the rank of brigadier general. In 1813, he defeated the combined forces of the British and American Indians at the Battle of the Thames, where chief Tecumseh was killed.
Harrison resigned his commission in 1814 and returned to Ohio. He entered politics and served in both houses of the U.S. Congress and the state senate. Although he campaigned for president unsuccessfully in 1836, he was elected president in 1840.