Narrator: Most Americans are only familiar with the presidency of William Henry Harrison because of its morbid trivia, namely that it was cut short by death after a mere 32 days in office. What is all too often left unsaid is the dire importance of these 32 days in American history. Despite his brief presidency, William Henry Harrison’s headstrong nature blazed a new trail for future American presidents to follow. All the events and reenactments featured on this episode of Commander-in-Brief: A Presidency in Two Minutes are precisely how events transpired.
Inaugurated on March 4th, 1841 William Henry Harrison returned to the White House for a celebratory ball lasting late into the night. As the reception drew to a close, President Harrison’s valet inquired whether the president would be “retiring for the evening”. President Harrison responded in his usual dignified manner that he wouldn’t rest until he met the duties of his office.
William Henry Harrison: Blah, Blah, Blah. You can’t tell me what to do, IAAc??m the president. I’m going to stay up allllllllllllll night.
Narrator: President Harrison, visibly inebriated, then approached the departing French Ambassador and proceeded to accuse him of having “a micro-penis.” The French Ambassador, deeply offended by President Harrison’s less than courteous interjection, denied the statement. President Harrison then punched the ambassador in the testicles.
Waking up the next morning in a puddle of his own urine in what would later be known as the Lincoln Bedroom, President Harrison began to devise a plan to get himself out of this brewing diplomatic quagmire. On March 15th, 1841 he dictated a letter initiating correspondence between the United States and British governments.
William Henry Harrison: It has come to my attention that you were once in control of the United States. If you are willing to protect me I am very willing to sell it back to you for only the cost of beer money.
Narrator: Fortunately for the United States, the French Ambassador’s official letter of displeasure and President Harrison’s letter to England never reached their destinations thanks to President Harrison’s fateful decision days earlier that all ships could legally import or export only kegs. And so, we must credit President Harrison’s zest for life with saving these United States.
On the 26th of March 1841, after someone suggested the President would be better off not standing in the rain for 24 hours, the PresidentAAc??s contrarian nature led him to remain steadfast. Sadly, he was soon diagnosed with pneumonia, a death sentence for a man of his age. Displaying his endearing tendency to never let negative circumstances dishearten him, President Harrison would only announce:
William Henry Harrison: Pneumonia’s for pussies.
Narrator: The final days of President Harrison were consumed by his undying passion for life. Discarding the duties of his elected office, President Harrison would routinely inform people of his desire to have sex with them and would occasionally interrupt polite casual conversations with the now immortalized:
William Henry Harrison: I’m President…Bitch.
Narrator: On the evening of April 4th, 1841 President William Henry Harrison, dying but ever-unapologetic, used his last breath to birth a phrase that has since worked its way into the vernacular of all Americans too great for their time.
William Henry Harrison: [in a barely audible wheeze] Sorry for partying.