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American History
3.4 General William Henry Harrison

The year 1811, in which the first steamboat went west, a great battle was fought with the Indians. The battle-ground was on the Tippecanoe River, in what is now the state of Indiana. The Indians fought because they wanted to keep the west for themselves. They felt as an old chief did, who had been forced to move many times by the white men. One day a military officer came to his wigwam to tell him that he and his tribe must go still further west. The chief said, General, let's sit down on this log and talk it over. So they both sat down. After they had talked a short time, the chief said, Please move a little further that way; I haven't room enough. The officer moved along. In a few minutes the chief asked him to move again, and he did so. Presently the chief gave him a push and said, Do move further on, won't you? I can't, said the general. Why not? asked the chief. Because I've got to the end of the log, replied the officer. Well, said the Indian, now you see how it is with us. You white men have kept pushing us on until you have pushed us clear to the end of our country, and yet you come now and say, Move on, move on.

A famous Indian warrior named Tecumseh determined to band the different Indian tribes together, and drive out the white men from the west. Tecumseh had a brother called the "Prophet," who pretended he could tell what would happen in the future. He said, The white traders come here, give the Indians whiskey, get them drunk, and then cheat them out of their lands. Once we owned this whole country; now, if an Indian strips a little bark off of a tree to shelter him when it rains, a white man steps up, with a gun in his hand, and says, That's my tree; let it alone, or I'll shoot you. Then the "Prophet" said to the red men, Stop drinking "fire-water," and you will have strength to kill off the "pale-faces" and get your land back again. When you have killed them off, I will bless the earth. I will make pumpkins grow to be as big as wigwams, and the corn shall be so large that one ear will be enough for a dinner for a dozen hungry Indians. The Indians liked to hear these things; they wanted to taste those pumpkins and that corn, and so they got ready to fight.

At this time William Henry Harrison (William Henry Harrison was born in Berkeley, Charles City County, Virginia, about twenty-five miles below Richmond. His father, Governor Harrison of Virginia, was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.) was governor of Indiana territory. He had fought under General Wayne in his war with the Indians in Ohio. Everybody knew Governor Harrison's courage, and the Indians all respected him; but he tried in vain to prevent the Indians from going to war. The "Prophet" urged them on at the north, and Tecumseh had gone south to persuade the Indians there to join the northern tribes. Governor Harrison saw that a battle must soon be fought; so he started with his soldiers to meet the Indians. He marched to the Tippecanoe River, and there he stopped. While Harrison's men were asleep in the woods, the "Prophet" told the Indians not to wait, but to attack the soldiers at once. In his hand he held up a string of beans. These beans, said he to the Indians, are sacred. Come and touch them, and you are safe; no white man's bullet can hit you. The Indians hurried up in crowds to touch the wonderful beans. Now, said the "Prophet," let each one take his hatchet in one hand and his gun in the other, and creep through the tall grass till he gets to the edge of the woods. The soldiers lie there fast asleep; when you get close to them, spring up and at them like a wild-cat at a rabbit.

The Indians started to do this, but a soldier on guard saw the tall grass moving as though a great snake was gliding through it. He fired his gun at the moving grass; with a yell up sprang the whole band of Indians, and rushed forward: in a moment the battle began. Harrison won the victory. He not only killed many of the Indians, but he marched against their village, set fire to it, and burned it to ashes. After that the Indians in that part of the country would not listen to the "Prophet." They said, He is a liar; his beans didn't save us. The battle of Tippecanoe did much good, because it prevented the Indian tribes from uniting and beginning a great war all through the west. Governor Harrison received high praise for what he had done, and was made a general in the United States army.

When Tecumseh came back from the south, he was terribly angry with his brother for fighting before he was ready to have him begin. He seized the "Prophet" by his long hair, and shook him as a terrier[9] shakes a rat. Tecumseh then left the United States and went to Canada to help the British, who were getting ready to fight us. The next year (1812) we began our second war with England. It is called the War of 1812. One of the chief reasons why we fought was that the British would not let our merchant ships alone; they stopped them at sea, took thousands of our sailors out of them, and forced the men to serve in their war-ships in their battles against the French. In the course of the War of 1812 the British burned the Capitol at Washington; but a grander building rose from its ashes. General Harrison fought a battle in Canada in which he defeated the British and killed Tecumseh, who was fighting on the side of the English. Many years after this battle, the people of the west said, We must have the "Hero of Tippecanoe" for President of the United States. They went to vote for him with songs and shouts, and he was elected. A month after he had gone to Washington, President Harrison died (1841), and the whole country was filled with sorrow.

Directions: Answer the following multiple choice questions. Also, answer the following questions on a sheet of paper:
  1. Briefly summarize the conversation between the tribal chief and the English military officer?
  2. Explain the battle of Tippecanoe.

Q 1: Astrologer : predict :: Prophet : -----------
One who tells about stars
One who tells about movements of celestial bodies.
one who tells what will happen in the future.

Q 2: Name the famous Indian warrior.

Q 3: What is fire water?
Boiled water.
Water kept on fire.
Indian name for whisky.

Q 4: Capital : Investment :: Capitol : -----------------
State Legislature house in Rome
State legislature house in Japan
State Legislature in Sweden

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Question 6: This question is available to subscribers only!

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