Our discussion of the McKinley assassination in class today reminded me of something many of you may have heard of: the fabled Tecumseh's Curse. In 1811, William Henry Harrison helped defeat Native American forces at the Battle of Tippecanoe. It is rumored that after this battle, a curse was put on the presidency in retaliation for the U.S. military's brutal treatment of the Indians. Any president elected in a year ending in zero would die while in office. Check out the history:
1840 - "Tippecanoe" Harrison is elected to office and dies within a month of beginning his presidency from a cold/stomach flu.
1860 - Abraham Lincoln: assassinated by John Wilkes Booth
1880 - James Garfield: assassinated by Charles J. Guiteau
1900 - William McKinley: assassinated by Leon F. Czolgosz
1920 - Warren G. Harding: died from a stroke while still in office
1940 - Franklin D. Roosevelt: only president to be elected to a third term in office, dies in his third term from a cerebral hemorrhage
1960 - John F. Kennedy: assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald
1980 - Ronald Reagan: survives an assassination attempt
So those are the facts. I personally am not sure what to believe, but it is pretty interesting in itself to see the kinds of superstitions people come up with. Perhaps it is another way of painting Native Americans as "Noble Savages" - mystic people, deeply connected with nature and spirituality which we can never hope to understand. If nothing else it certainly speaks to the atrocities of the U.S. government in their interactions with Native Americans.