"William Harrison/How do you praise?
That guy was dead in 30 days!"
—Yakko, Animaniacs, "The Presidents Song."
"There's William Henry Harrison/I died in 30 days!"Upon getting elected President, William Henry Harrison (1773-1841) had a brilliant idea for his inauguration. Facing accusations that he was old and frail, as well as unintelligent, he decided to deliver an eloquent two-hour inauguration speech (which had already been edited for length). Outside. In cold weather. In the rain. Without warm clothes on. And then went out dancing. He promptly caught pneumonia, lingered bedridden for a month, and died, thereby proving the accusations true. And thus, William Henry Harrison, immediately following Martin Van Buren, was president from March, 1841 to April, 1841, making way for John Tyler. Having never had a chance to really do anything in office, the ninth president, and the first from the Whig Party, is largely a footnote in history. However, this was the first time a President died in office, and the Constitution was a little vague on whether the Vice President became President or merely Acting President if the current President was incapacitated (this was all the more important as it was very clear Harrison wasn't going to resume his duties anytime soon). John Tyler's insistence on the former set an important precedent for future, more contentious Vice Presidents. Harrison was the first sitting president to have a photograph of him taken while in office, although the original copy has been lost to history. Also the only President to have a grandson later hold the office. He was also the oldest president elected to office at the time, and would remain so until Ronald Reagan took office 140 years later. He used the memorable campaign slogan "Tippecanoe and Tyler Too", which makes reference to the battle of Tippecanoe, a battle fought against Native heroes Tecumseh and his brother The Prophet (real name Tenskwatawa), when he was governor of the Indiana Territory. Popular legends state that a curse laid by Tecumseh's shaman is what led to his death in office, and to a curse on presidents elected in a year ending with zero, leading to four presidents getting assassinated and two dying of natural causes. This "curse" was broken in 1980, albeit in one violent near-miss. Despite campaigning using this populist slogan, though, he was (ironically) from a city, unlike his opponent (Martin Van Buren) who was actually from the country. Before getting elected president, he was previously a Representative and a Senator, and an ambassador to Colombia. Every four to eight years, he gets a break from "shortest time in office" until the newly inaugurated President reaches the 31-day mark and Harrison drops back to the bottom of the list. He retains the distinction of being the last President to be born as a British colonial subject rather than an American citizen; further, his father Benjamin was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. He is considered to be the greatest president in American history among anarchists, as his example of doing nothing and dying shortly after coming into office has yet to be equaled. Questions about the one-month president are somewhat popular in trivia games. More Information Than You Require claims that he was actually poisoned with a 30-day poison, and would only get the antidote by finding his killer. He failed because, as John Hodgman puts it, "Harrison was a great Indian-killer, but not much of a sleuth".
—"The Mediocre Presidents Song", from The Simpsons.
Fictional Appearances (no, really):