American Minute with Bill Federer FEB. 9 - Did the 9th President foretell America's end? -'The great danger ... accumulation in one department of that which was assigned to others.'
American Minute with Bill Federer
FEB. 9 - Did the 9th President foretell America's end? -'The great
danger ... accumulation in one department of that which was assigned to
"Tippecanoe and Tyler too" was the campaign slogan of 9th President William Henry Harrison, born FEBRUARY 9, 1773.
was an aide-de-camp to General "Mad Anthony" Wayne, who defeated the
British and Indians at the Battle of Fallen Timbers, 1794.
was the hero of the Battle of Tippecanoe, 1811, and the Battle of the
Thames, 1813, recovering Detroit from the British and their Indian
allies led by Shawnee chief Tecumseh.
He was the son of Benjamin
Harrison, signer the Declaration of Independence, and he was the
grandfather of Benjamin Harrison, the 23rd President.
Henry Harrison became Secretary of the Northwest Territory, consisting
of 260,000 square miles from which were formed the States of Ohio,
Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota.
He was the Territory's first delegate to Congress and the Governor of the Indiana Territory in 1801.
William Henry Harrison gave the longest Inaugural address, 8,445 words, and served the shortest term, only 32 days.
The was the first President to die in office.
In his Inaugural Address, written with help from Daniel Webster, President William Henry Harrison stated, March 4, 1841:
"The great danger to our institutions does...appear to me to be...the accumulation in one of the departments of that which was assigned to others.
Limited as are the powers which have been granted, still enough have been granted to constitute a despotism if concentrated in one of the departments....particularly...the Executive...
The tendency of power to increase itself, particularly when exercised by a single individual...would terminate in virtual monarchy..."
"Republics can commit no greater error than to...continue any feature in their...government which may...increase the love of power in the bosoms of those to whom necessity obliges them to commit the management of their affairs...
When this corrupting passion once takes possession of the human mind, like the love of gold it becomes insatiable. It is the never-dying worm in his bosom, grows with his growth and strengthens with the declining years of its victim...
It is the part of wisdom for a republic to limit the service
of that officer...to whom she has intrusted the management of her
foreign relations, the execution of her laws, and the command of her
armies and navies to a period so short as to prevent his forgetting that he is the accountable agent, not the principle; the servant, not the master..."
"The great dread...seems to have been that the reserved powers of the States would be absorbed by...the Federal Government
and a consolidated power established, leaving to the States the shadow
only of that independent action for which they had so zealously
There is still an undercurrent at work by which, if
not seasonably checked, the worst apprehensions of our anti-federal
patriots will be realized...
Not only will the State authorities be overshadowed by the great increase of power in the Executive department...but the character of that Government, if not its designation, be essentially and radically changed.
This state of things has been in part effected by...the never-failing tendency of political power to increase itself...."
Harrison warned if the President controlled the Treasury:
"It is not by the extent of its patronage alone that the Executive department has become dangerous, but by the use which it appears may be made of the appointing power to bring under its control the whole revenues of the country....
There was wanting no other addition to the powers of our Chief Magistrate to stamp monarchical character on our Government but the control of the public finances...
The first Roman Emperor, in his attempt to seize the sacred treasure, silenced the opposition of the officer to whose charge it had been committed by a significant allusion to his sword...
I know the importance...to the divorce...the Treasury from the banking institutions...
was certainly a great error in the framers of the Constitution not to
have made...the head of the Treasury Department entirely independent of
A decent and manly examination of the acts of the Government should be not only tolerated, but encouraged..."
Harrison warned of "class warfare":
"As long as the love of power is a dominant passion of the human bosom, and as long as the understanding of men can be warped and their affections changed by operations upon their passions and prejudices, so long will the liberties of a people depend on their constant attention to its preservation.
The danger to all well-established free governments arises from the unwillingness of the people to believe in...the influence of designing men...
This is the old trick of those who would usurp the government
of their country. In the name of democracy they speak, warning the
people against the influence of wealth and the danger of aristocracy.
History, ancient and modern, is full of such examples.
Caesar became the master
of the Roman people and the senate under the pretense of supporting the
democratic claims of the former against the aristocracy of the latter;
Cromwell, in the character of the protector of the liberties of the people, became the dictator of England,
and Bolivar possessed himself of unlimited power with the title of his country's liberator...
The tendencies of all such governments in their decline is to monarchy,
the antagonist (rival) principle to liberty there is the spirit of
faction - a spirit which assumes the character and in times of great
excitement imposes itself upon the people as the genuine spirit of
and, like the false Christs whose coming was foretold by the Savior, seeks to, and were it possible would, impose upon the true and most faithful disciples of liberty.
It is in periods like this that it behooves the people to be most watchful of those to whom they have intrusted power..."
Harrison compared "spirit of liberty" with a "spirit of party" faction:
"There is at times much difficulty in distinguishing the false from the true spirit, a calm investigation will detect the counterfeit...
The true spirit of liberty...is mild and tolerant and scrupulous...
whilst the spirit of party, assuming to be that of liberty, is harsh, vindictive, and intolerant, and totally reckless as to the character of the allies which it brings to the aid of its cause...
The reign of an intolerant spirit of party amongst a free people seldom fails to result in a dangerous accession to the Executive power introduced and established amidst unusual professions of devotion to democracy."
Harrison concluded in his Inaugural Address:
"I deem the present occasion sufficiently important and solemn to justify me in expressing to my fellow citizens a profound reverence for the Christian religion,
and a thorough conviction that sound
morals, religious liberty, and a just sense of religious responsibility
are essentially connected with all true and lasting happiness.
And to that good Being
who has blessed us by the gifts of civil and religious freedom...let us
unite in fervently commending every interest of our beloved country in
all future time."