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William Henry Harrison was the ninth president of the United States (1841) and the first to die in office.
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With the War of 1812 behind him, William Henry Harrison returned to Ohio and settled into government life. He served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1816 to 1819, the Ohio Senate from 1819 to 1821, and the U.S. Senate from 1825 to 1828. In 1836, he ran (as a Whig) for the presidency, but lost to Democrat Martin Van Buren. He was successful enough, however, to return in 1840, this time winning the popular vote by a thin margin (fewer than 150,
000 votes separated him and Van Buren), but taking the Electoral College easily (234 to 60).
Harrison thereby became the oldest person elected president of the United States and the last to be born while the United States was still under British rule. Unfortunately, he caught a cold around the time of his inauguration, and it developed into pneumonia.
On April 4, 1841, William Henry Harrison died in the White House, before his wife had even moved to Washington, D.C. to become first lady. Harrison was the first president to die in office. His grandson, also Benjamin, born in 1833, would become the 23rd president of the United States in 1888.
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The first U.S. president, former military leader George Washington, took his oath of office on April 30, 1789, on the balcony of Federal Hall. From that moment onward, the United States' highest office has been filled regularly by elected officials who aim to serve the people under the guidance of the U.S. Constitution. Learn more about the 43 men who have served as America's chief executive.
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