Harrison Log Cabin 1840 Campaign v2: 21mm
BM: BENEDICT & BURNHM EXTRA
Two Piece Convex Gilt button.
Having tried unsuccessfully to become the new Whig Party's only candidate for president in 1836, William Henry Harrison continued campaigning for the nomination until the next election cycle. At the December 1839 Whig convention, Harrison became the party's official nominee for president. By the time the election of 1840 neared President Van Buren was very unpopular. He was blamed for the depression that followed the Panic of 1837, and reviled for not doing anything to improve the economy. Thus the Whigs felt they had a good chance to capture the White House. The supporters of Harrison began creating an image of him as a war hero, and touted his experience at the Battle of Tippecanoe, 28 years earlier. The Democrats supporting Martin Van Buren scoffed at the image created of William Henry Harrison, and derided him by saying Harrison was an old man who would be content to sit in his log cabin and drink hard cider. The Whigs neutralized that attack by embracing it, and took to saying that Harrison was the "hard cider candidate." Harrison avoided discussion of the issues, and let his campaign be based on hard cider and log cabins proceed. And it worked, as Harrison won in an electoral landslide. In its collection of materials related to the 1840 Harrison campaign, the Smithsonian Institution has a wooden model of a log cabin that was carried in torchlight parades.
Harrison in 1841; this is an early (circa 1850) photographic copy of an 1841 daguerreotype