What is Tecumseh’s Curse and How Did the Curse on the American Presidency Originate?

The great Shawnee Chief Tecumseh, who died fighting with Canada against the United States’ invasion in the War of 1812, placed a curse on the American presidency.

He proclaimed that every president elected in a year that ends in a zero would die during his term.

Since then, every president elected in such a year has died in office, with the exception of Ronald Reagan, who was shot, but survived.

Here is a complete list of presidents affected by the curse:

William Henry Harrison, elected in 1840, died of pneumonia one month into his presidency.

Abraham Lincoln, elected in 1860, was assassinated in 1865 at the beginning of his second term.

James A. Garfield, elected in 1880, was assassinated in 1881.

William McKinley, elected for his second term in 1900, was assassinated in 1901.

Warren G. Harding, elected in 1920, died of Ptomaine poisoning in 1923.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, elected for his third term in 1940, died of a cerebral hemorrhage in 1945 at the beginning of his fourth term.

John F. Kennedy, elected in 1960, was assassinated in 1963.

Ronald Reagan, elected in 1980, survived an assassination attempt while in office.

Some say that by surviving he broke the curse.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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