I can't create a database with mysql

ERROR 1045 (28000): Access denied for user ‘root’@‘localhost’ (using password: YES) Using Debian: I have uninstalled and reinstalled mysql using apt-get remove --purge mysql*, then reinstalled. Running mysql_secure_installation does not work because it will not accept my password. I hoped clearing all things mysql related would reset the password used for this. How can I have a clean start with mysql? How can I prevent this from happening in the future?

Thank you

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apt-get install mysql