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William Henry Harrison Campaign Badges

These four silk campaign badges were created for the presidential election of 1840. They range in size from 2.87 by 7.75 inches (7.28 by 19.69 cm) to 3.25 by 6.75 inches (8.26 by 17.15 cm). The badges feature log cabins, cider barrels, and slogans. The citizens of Ross County were enthusiastic supporters of candidate William Henry Harrison (1773-1841). They formed a Tippecanoe club and celebrated their candidate with parades and log cabin raisings. In September of 1840, Harrison agreed to come to Ross County for a three-day meeting. Harrison delivered a two hour-long address, typical of his style of oratory.

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.

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Online access is provided for research purposes only.
For more information, duplication requests, or to see the item or full collection in its original (non-digital) format, please contact the contributing institution. Contact information is provided below.
Contributor: Ross County Historical Society
45 W. 5th St.
Chillicothe, OH 45601
(740) 773-1896
E-mail: info@rosscountyhistorical.org