Beware the curse of Tippecanoe! Or at least, be aware, as it is extremely unlikely to apply to you, unless you have been President of the United States and (as of the time of writing) are actually Joe Biden. Let me explain.
William Henry Harrison made his name and reputation as a soldier. As a general of the United States forces during what was known as Tecumseh’s War between the US soldiers and Native Americans, Harrison led a successful defeat of the tribes at the Battle of Tippecanoe.
It was said that the defeated Native Americans cursed Harrison that day, a curse wrought by Tenskwatawa, the religious leader of the defeated Shawnee tribe. 30 years later the curse manifested, only 11 months after Harrison, who had risen far, was sworn in a President.
Harrison would not survive his Presidency, and it seemed that every President who, like him, was elected on a year ending in a “0” was also cursed to die before their term was up. Here are the Presidents who fell victim to the curse of Tippecanoe.
1. William Henry Harrison
2. Abraham Lincoln
3. James Garfield
4. William McKinley
5. Warren G Harding
6. Franklin D Roosevelt
7. John F Kennedy
8. The Curse Broken?
And that is the curse: seven Presidents in a row who were elected in a year ending in “0” would go on to die in office before their term was up. However, those who are concerned for Joe Biden (who won the 2020 election, after all) should note that Kennedy was the last to fall to the curse.
In fact, two other Presidents have won elections in years ending in “0” since Kennedy but have gone on to serve their full terms. Both Reagan in 1980 and George W Bush in 2000 won and survived their terms, and the latter is still alive today.
Has the curse been broken?
Top Image: Kennedy in his Presidential motorcade on November 22nd 1963, the last victim of the Curse of Tippecanoe. Source: Victor Hugo King / Public Domain.
By Joseph Green