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The year was 1811, and General William Henry Harrison led an army in Indiana near the Tippecanoe River. His army laid seige upon Prophet's Town which had been the stronghold for the Shawnee Indians. Chief Tecumseh and his brother Tenskwautawa the Prophet had been attempting to unite all the indian tribes as one force against the American agression on sacred soil. With the Battle of Tippecanoe, Tecumseh's dream to avenge his father's death at the hand of the White Man as well as his dreams of an Indian nation stretching for most of what is now the USA was put to an end. General Harrison's army won the battle by exposing his brother The Prophet and convincing the other indians that their leaders had no special powers to protect them from an onslaught of Harrison's army. With no serious opposition, Harrison took over the fort. Tecumseh survived, and with the War of 1812 he joined the British fight against the United States. However, his power and dreams had by then been too weakened.

As the legend goes, after the battle of Tippecanoe, Tecumseh and The Prophet sent General Harrison a message via released prisoners. This message contained a curse. Tecumseh prophecied that Harrison would not win the presidency "to be the Great Chief" of America. However he would win one day, and then die in office. Furthermore they swore that every president who was elected every twenty years would suffer a similar fate. They hoped this curse would keep alive the memory of the death of the Indian Nation, and point a finger at its cause.

William Harrison was elected several decades later in 1840. He died the following April of pneumonia. His successor was Vice President John Tyler. Twenty years later in 1860, Abraham Lincoln was elected president, and then assassinated five years later by John Wilkes Booth. Vice President Andrew Johnson took his place.

In 1880 James Garfield became president, only to be assassinated the following summer. Chester Arthur was his VP. In 1900 William McKinley was next to fall to the curse, replaced in September of 1901 by Theodore Roosevelt. 1920 was Warren Harding's turn. He became president, and in August of 1923 he became fatally ill due to food poisoning. Calvin Coolidge stepped in as his successor.

The same year Warren Harding became president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt had been appointed the Democrat nominee for Vice President. Although the Republicans won that year, FDR had already been tapped to be on the fast track to the presidency. His fate was all but sealed. In 1921, FDR was stricken with polio. He valiantly fought the illness and served his political party and his country with honor and distinction. He was elected USA's 32nd president to his first term in office seven years later. All in all Franklin Delano Roosevelt would be elected to serve four terms; 1932, 1936 1940 and 1944. FDR steered the american people through world war two and the great depression.

However, throughout his presidency, FDR's health continued to deteriorate. By the time America entered World War Two full throttle, the Commander-In-Chief was using a wheelchair. On April 12, 1945, he died of a cerebral hemorrhage in Warm Springs, Georgia, and Harry Truman took his place. It is because of FDR's valiant but heart wrenching story that the congress later amended the constitution, so that no one man could ever serve more than two consecutive terms as president.

The assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963 is well documented elsewhere, but the truth will never fully be known. I will not dwell more upon it here. His vice president was Lyndon Johnson. JFK was elected in 1960. The most recent victim of the Tecumseh Curse is by many people's beliefs the end of it. Ronald Reagan was elected president of the United States in 1980, and served two full terms, leaving office very much alive. However, on March of 1981 an assassination attempt was made on his life. It is believed by some that the prayers of the American people, and his own faith in God, defeated the curse. Others believe this is all simply a strange coincidence and there never was a curse. Fellow noder, yru, asked me once, "could it be said that Reagan's Alzheimer's disease is part of the curse." One could argue that it is, but although it may have weakened or even incapacitated him near the end of his second term, Ronald Reagan lived many years after his presidency. Irregardless, The Presidential Curse that had killed seven presidents as vowed by Tecumseh's brother may have come to its end

However, the Gore/Bush presidential election may be viewed as the final stand. The year 2000 may have decided the validity and fate of The Twenty Year Jinx once and for all. The political climate was ripe for an assassination. George W. Bush became the next president of the United States, beating out Al Gore. The man did not enter office with a mandate by the people. The election was so close that it can be said half the people did not want the man who made it in there. That, coupled with the questionably amoral condition Bill Clinton left the office, a weakened U.S. military, the economically and politically unstable state of the world as a whole, and the several tangible threats both foreign and domestic to American interests, it would be naive and foolishly optimistic not to expect at least one assassination attempt

Tecumseh and The Prophet spoke over 160 years ago. Does the voice of their curse still echo clearly even today?

We'll see the answer clearly by 2020

Added August 25th, 2002:
Halfway into his first term, President George W. Bush is still going strong and still making enemies, but despite the Taleban and a particularly nasty pretzel, there's no indication the Tecumseh Curse is an issue. It may still be too early to tell, but if Shrub makes it to November 2004 alive without getting re-elected, we can finally say without question that The Twenty Year Jinx is definitely over. History can opt to just call it a strange coincidence, but there will always be people who believe otherwise. I for one couldn't tell ya one way or the other

Added November 2nd, 2004:
As jasonm pointed out to me recently, there are some who don't believe GW Bush was technically elected into his first term in office, which would explain why the aforementioned curse hasn't kicked in. Likewise, though Gore got the popular vote he wasn't allowed to serve. This would therefore make the Tecumseh Curse null and void. Personally I believe that could have happened with the term of Reagan, when prayer spiritually overruled the curse and Reagan survived the Hinkley assassination attempt. It's equally as probable however, that all this is a bunch of hooey. Ballot disputes and hanging chads left much to be desired in the last "zero year" election. However, whether all the above is just coincidence or the curse was real and powerful, I believe time and circumstance has sufficiently weakened its power. However, sixteen years from now, we may know for certain.