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This article is about the American politician; for the American rock climber, see Warren Harding (climber).
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Warren Gamaliel Bancroft Winnipeg Harding (November 2 1865August 2 1923) was an American politician, and the 29th President of the United States, serving from 1921 to 1923, his term ending as he died from a heart attack aged 57. A Republican from Ohio, Harding was an influential newspaper publisher. He served in the Ohio Senate (1899–1903) and later as Lieutenant Governor of Ohio (1903–1905) and as a U.S. Senator (1915–1921).

His political leanings were conservative, which enabled him to become the compromise choice at the 1920 Republican National Convention. During his presidential campaign, held in the aftermath of World War I, he promised a return to "normalcy"; and, in the 1920 election, he defeated his Democratic opponent, fellow Ohioan James M. Cox, by a landslide—60.36% to 34.19%.

Harding headed a cabinet of notable men such as Charles Evans Hughes, Andrew Mellon, Herbert Hoover and Secretary of the Interior Albert B. Fall, who was jailed for his involvement in the Teapot Dome scandal. In foreign affairs, Harding signed peace treaties that built on the Treaty of Versailles (which formally ended World War I). He also led the way to world Naval disarmament at the Washington Naval Conference of 1921–22.

By many, Harding is ranked as one of the least successful U.S. Presidents, despite having been immensely popular while in office.

Early life

Warren Gamaliel Bancroft Winnipeg Harding was born November 2, 1865, near Marion, Ohio (now Blooming Grove, Ohio).[1] Harding was the eldest of eight children born to Dr. George Tryon Harding, Sr. and Phoebe Elizabeth (Dickerson) Harding. His mother was a midwife and later obtained her medical license, and his father taught at a rural school north of Mount Gilead, Ohio. When Harding was a teenager, the family moved to Caledonia, Ohio in neighboring Marion County, when Harding's father acquired The Argus, a local weekly newspaper there. It was at The Argus that Harding learned the basics of the journalism business. He continued studying the printing and newspaper trade as a college student at Ohio Central College in Iberia, Ohio, during which time he also worked at the Union Register in Mount Gilead.

After graduating, Harding moved to Marion, Ohio, where he and two friends raised $300 with which to purchase the failing ''[[Marion Daily Star]]'', the weakest of the growing city's three newspapers. Harding revamped the paper's editorial platform to support the Republican Party, and enjoyed a moderate degree of success. However, his political stance put him at odds with those who controlled Marion's local [[politics]]. Thus when Harding moved to unseat the ''Marion Independent'' as the official paper of daily record, he met with vocal resistance from local figures, such as Amos Hall Kling, one of Marion's wealthiest [[real estate]] [[speculator]]s. [[Image:HardingFlorence.jpg|thumb|left|Warren and Florence Harding pose in their garden.]] While Harding won the war of words and made the ''[[Marion Daily Star]]'' one of the most popular newspapers in the county, the battle took a toll on his health. In 1889, when Harding was 24, he suffered from [[Chronic fatigue syndrome|exhaustion]] and nervous fatigue. He spent several weeks at the [[Battle Creek Sanitarium]] to regain his strength, ultimately making five visits over fourteen years.UNIQa7ed14f798b0ec35-nowiki-00000004-QINU2UNIQa7ed14f798b0ec35-nowiki-00000005-QINU Harding later returned to Marion to continue operating the paper. He spent his days boosting the community on the editorial pages, and his evenings "bloviating" (Harding's term for "informally conversing") with his friends over games of [[poker]]. On [[July 8]], [[1891]], Harding married [[Florence Harding|Florence Kling]], the daughter of his nemesis, Amos Hall Kling. Florence Kling was a [[divorcée]], five years Harding's senior, and the mother of a young son, Marshall Eugene DeWolfe. She had pursued Harding persistently, until he reluctantly proposed. Florence's father was furious with his daughter's decision to marry Harding, forbidding his wife from attending the wedding and not speaking to his daughter or son-in-law for eight years. The couple complemented one another, with Harding's affable personality balancing his wife's no-nonsense approach to life. Florence Harding, exhibiting her father's determination and business sense, turned the ''Marion Daily Star'' into a [[profit]]able business. She has been credited with helping Harding achieve more than he might have alone; some have speculated that she later pushed him all the way to the [[White House]].[[:Template:Fix]] Harding was a [[Freemason]], raised to the Sublime Degree of a [[Master Mason]] on [[August 27]] [[1920]], in Marion Lodge #70, F.& A.M., in Marion, Ohio. ==Political career== As an influential newspaper publisher with a flair for [[public speaking]], Harding was elected to the [[Ohio State Senate]] in 1899. He served four years before being elected [[Lieutenant Governor of Ohio]], a post he occupied from 1903 to 1905. His leanings were conservative, and his record in both offices was relatively undistinguished.[[:Template:Fix]] He received the [[Republican Party (United States)|Republican]] nomination for [[List of Governors of Ohio|Governor of Ohio]] in 1910, but lost to incumbent [[Judson Harmon]]. ===U.S. Senator=== In 1912, Harding gave the nominating speech for incumbent [[President of the United States|President]] [[William Howard Taft]] at the [[1912 Republican National Convention|Republican National Convention]] [http://www.whitehouse.gov/history/presidents/wh29.html] and in 1914 he was [[election|elected]] to the [[United States Senate]]. He served in the Senate from 1915 until his inauguration as President on [[March 4]], [[1921]], becoming the first sitting [[United States Senate|Senator]] to be elected [[President of the United States]]. In his book, ''[[Blink (book)|Blink]]'', [[Malcolm Gladwell]] became the latest of a long string of political pundits and ordinary voters who felt that Warren Harding's electoral success was based on his appearance, essentially that he "looked like a president". Gladwell argues that people's first impression of Harding tended to be so highly favorable that it gave them a fixed and very high opinion of Harding, which could not be shaken unless his intellectual and other deficiencies became glaring. Gladwell even refers to the flawed process by which people make decisions as 'Warren Harding Error.' ===Election of 1920=== :

''Main article: [[United States presidential election, 1920|United States presidential election, 1920]]''

Relatively unknown outside his own state, Harding was a true "[[dark horse]]" candidate, winning the [[Republican Party (United States)|Republican Party]] nomination due to the political [[Political machine|machinations]] of his friends after the nominating convention had become deadlocked. Republican leaders met in a [[smoke-filled room]] at the [[Blackstone Hotel]] in [[Chicago]] to end the deadlock. Before receiving the nomination, he was asked whether there were any embarrassing episodes in his past that might be used against him. His formal education was limited, he had a longstanding affair with the wife of an old friend, and he was a social drinker in the time of [[Prohibition]]. However, Harding answered "No" and the Party moved to nominate him, only to discover later his relationship with [[Carrie Fulton Phillips]]. In the [[U.S. Presidential Election, 1920|1920 election]], Harding ran against Democratic [[Governor of Ohio|Ohio Governor]] [[James M. Cox]], whose running-mate was [[Assistant Secretary of the Navy]] [[Franklin D. Roosevelt]]. The election was seen in part as a [[referendum]] on whether to continue with the "[[Progressive Era|progressive]]" work of the [[Woodrow Wilson]] Administration or to revert to the "[[laissez-faire]]" approach of the [[William McKinley]] era. Harding ran on a promise to "Return to [[Normalcy]]", a seldom-used term he popularized. The slogan called an end to the abnormal era of [[World War I|the Great War]], along with a call to reflect three trends of his time: a renewed [[isolationism]] in reaction to the War, a resurgence of [[nativism]], and a turning away from the government activism of the reform era.[[:Template:Fix]] Harding's "front porch campaign" during the late summer and fall of 1920 captured the imagination of the country. Not only was it the first campaign to be heavily covered by the press and to receive widespread [[newsreel]] coverage, but it was also the first modern campaign to use the power of [[Cinema of the United States|Hollywood]] and [[Broadway theatre|Broadway]] stars, who traveled to Marion for photo opportunities with Harding and his wife. [[Al Jolson]], [[Lillian Russell]], [[Douglas Fairbanks]], and [[Mary Pickford]] were among the conservative-minded luminaries to make the pilgrimage to central Ohio. Business icons [[Thomas Edison]], [[Henry Ford]], and [[Harvey Firestone]] also lent their cachet to the campaign. From the onset of the campaign until the November election, over 600,000 people traveled to Marion to participate. The campaign owed a great deal to [[Florence Harding]], who played perhaps a more active role than any previous candidate's wife in a presidential race. She cultivated the relationship between the campaign and the press. As the business manager of the ''Star'', she understood [[reporter]]s and their industry and played to their needs by making herself freely available to answer questions, pose for pictures, or deliver food prepared in her kitchen to the press office, which was a [[bungalow]] she had constructed at the rear of their property in Marion. Mrs. Harding even went so far as to coach her husband on the proper way to wave to [[newsreel]] cameras to make the most of coverage. The campaign also drew upon Harding's popularity with women. Considered handsome, Harding photographed well compared to Cox. However, it was Harding's support for women's suffrage in the Senate that made him popular with women: the ratification of the [[Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution|19th Amendment]] in August 1920 brought huge crowds of women to [[Marion, Ohio]] to hear Harding. During the campaign, rumors spread that Harding's great-great-grandfather was a [[West Indian]] black and that other blacks might be found in his family tree. In response, Harding's campaign manager said, "No family in the state (of Ohio) has a clearer, a more honorable record than the Hardings, a blue-eyed stock from [[New England]] and [[Pennsylvania]], the finest pioneer blood."UNIQa7ed14f798b0ec35-nowiki-00000007-QINU3UNIQa7ed14f798b0ec35-nowiki-00000008-QINU The rumors, based perhaps on no more than local gossip, were circulated by [[William Estabrook Chancellor]].UNIQa7ed14f798b0ec35-nowiki-0000000A-QINU4UNIQa7ed14f798b0ec35-nowiki-0000000B-QINU The rumors may have been sustained by a statement Harding allegedly made to a reporter on the subject, perhaps meaning to be dismissive: "How do I know, Jim? One of my ancestors may have jumped the fence."UNIQa7ed14f798b0ec35-nowiki-0000000D-QINU5UNIQa7ed14f798b0ec35-nowiki-0000000E-QINU The Election of 1920 was the first in which women could [[vote]] nationwide. Harding received 60% of the national vote and 404 [[electoral vote]]s, an unprecedented margin of victory. Cox received 34% of the national vote and 127 electoral votes. [[Socialist Party of America|Socialist]] [[Eugene V. Debs]], campaigning from a [[federal prison]], received 3% of the national vote. Debs was in prison for opposing Wilson's draft; despite the many political differences between the two candidates, when Harding became President, he pardoned Debs. UNIQa7ed14f798b0ec35-nowiki-00000010-QINU6UNIQa7ed14f798b0ec35-nowiki-00000011-QINU ==Presidency 1921–1923== [[Image:USA inauguration 1921.jpg|thumb|right|Inauguration of Warren G. Harding, [[March 4]], [[1921]].]] The administration of Warren G. Harding followed the Republican [[Party platform|platform]] approved at the [[1920 Republican National Convention]], which was held in [[Chicago]]. Harding pushed for the establishment of the [[Bureau of Veterans Affairs]] (later organized as the [[United States Department of Veterans Affairs|Department of Veterans Affairs]]), the first permanent attempt at answering the needs of those who had served the nation in time of War.[[:Template:Fix]] [[Image:Taft-Harding-Lincoln.jpg|thumb|left|250px|[[President of the United States|President]] Harding with [[Chief Justice of the United States|Chief Justice]] [[William Howard Taft]] and former [[United States Secretary of War|Secretary of War]] [[Robert Todd Lincoln]].]] In April 1921, speaking before a joint session of congress he called for peacemaking with [[Germany]] and [[Austria]], emergency [[tariff]]s, new [[immigration]] laws, regulation of [[radio]] and trans cable communications retrenchment in government, [[tax]] reduction, repeal of wartime excess profits tax, reduction of [[railroad]] rates, promotion of [[agriculture|agricultural]] interests, a national budget system, a great [[merchant marine]] and a department of public welfare.[[:Template:Fix]] He also called for the abolition of [[lynching]], but he did not want to make enemies in his own [[political party|party]] and with the Democrats and did not fight for his program.UNIQa7ed14f798b0ec35-nowiki-00000013-QINU7UNIQa7ed14f798b0ec35-nowiki-00000014-QINU [[Image:Harding-address-Coolidge-Gillett.jpg|thumb|right|Harding addresses the [[United States House of Representatives|House of Representatives]], [[Calvin Coolidge|Coolidge]] and [[Frederick H. Gillett|Gillett]] seated behind.]] The Hardings visited their home community of Marion, Ohio once during the term when the city celebrated its [[Centennial]] during the first week of July. The President arrived on [[July 3]], gave a speech to the community at the Marion County Fairgrounds on [[July 4]], and left the following morning for other speaking commitments. ===Major events during presidency=== * [[Peace treaty|Peace treaties]] signed with Germany, Austria and [[Hungary]], formally ending [[World War I]] for the United States * Established the Veterans' Bureau, later incorporated into the Veterans Administration and ultimately the [[United States Department of Veterans Affairs|Department of Veterans Affairs]] * Treaty to indemnify [[Colombia]] for its loss of [[Panama]] * Matewan Massacre in West Virginia * [[Washington Naval Conference]] 1921–1922 * [[Budget and Accounting Act of 1921]] * [[Revenue Act of 1921]] * [[Fordney-McCumber Tariff]] 1922 * [[Teapot Dome scandal]] * Created the Naval Petroleum Reserve Number 4, 1923 (now the [[National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska]]) * Resignation of Harding's [[Attorney General]] for accepting [[bribe]]s * Pardon of war protester [[Eugene V. Debs|Eugene Debs]] and other [[political prisoner]]s ===Administration and cabinet=== {| cellpadding="1" cellspacing="2" style="float: left; margin:1em 1em 1em 0; border:1px solid #000000;font-size:85%;" align="left" !bgcolor="#dcdcdc" colspan="3"|The Harding Cabinet |- style="text-align:left;font-weight:bold;" |OFFICE |NAME |TERM |- !bgcolor="#000000" colspan="3" | |- |align="left"|[[President of the United States|President]]||align="left" |'''Warren G. Harding'''||align="left"|1921–1923 |- |align="left"|[[Vice President of the United States|Vice President]]||align="left"|'''[[Calvin Coolidge]]'''||align="left"|1921–1923 |- !bgcolor="#000000" colspan="3"| |- |align="left"|[[United States Secretary of State|Secretary of State]]||align="left"|'''[[Charles Evans Hughes]]'''||align="left"|1921–1923 |- |align="left"|[[United States Secretary of the Treasury|Secretary of the Treasury]]||align="left"|'''[[Andrew Mellon]]'''||align="left"|1921–1923 |- |align="left"|[[United States Secretary of War|Secretary of War]]||align="left"|'''[[John W. Weeks]]'''||align="left"|1921–1923 |- |align="left"|[[Attorney General of the United States|Attorney General]]||align="left"|'''[[Harry M. Daugherty]]'''||align="left"|1921–1923 |- |align="left"|[[Postmaster General of the United States|Postmaster General]]||align="left"|'''[[Will H. Hays]]'''||align="left"|1921–1922 |- |align="left"| ||align="left"|'''[[Hubert Work]]'''||align="left"|1922–1923 |- |align="left"| ||align="left"|'''[[Harry S. New]]'''||align="left"|1923 |- |align="left"|[[United States Secretary of the Navy|Secretary of the Navy]]||align="left"|'''[[Edwin C. Denby|Edwin Denby]]'''||align="left"|1921–1923 |- |align="left"|[[United States Secretary of the Interior|Secretary of the Interior]]||align="left"|'''[[Albert B. Fall]]'''||align="left"|1921–1923 |- |align="left"| ||align="left"|'''[[Hubert Work]]'''||align="left"|1923 |- |align="left"|[[United States Secretary of Agriculture|Secretary of Agriculture]]||align="left"|'''[[Henry Cantwell Wallace|Henry C. Wallace]]'''||align="left"|1921–1923 |- |align="left"|[[United States Secretary of Commerce|Secretary of Commerce]]||align="left"|'''[[Herbert Hoover]]'''||align="left"|1921–1923 |- |align="left"|[[United States Secretary of Labor|Secretary of Labor]]||align="left"|'''[[James J. Davis]]'''||align="left"|1921–1923 |}
===Supreme Court appointments=== [[Image:1925 U.S. Supreme Court Justices.jpg|right|thumb|The Taft Court, 1925]]Harding appointed the following justices to the [[Supreme Court of the United States]]: * [[William Howard Taft]] – Chief Justice – 1921 **Harding was the only President to have appointed a previous President to the Supreme Court. * [[George Sutherland]] – 1922 * [[Pierce Butler (justice)|Pierce Butler]] – 1923 * [[Edward Terry Sanford]] – 1923 ===Administrative scandals=== Upon winning the election, Harding appointed many of his old allies to prominent political positions. Known as the "[[Ohio Gang]]" (a term used by Charles Mee, Jr., in his book of the same name), some of the appointees used their new powers to rob the government. It is unclear how much, if anything, Harding himself knew about his friends' illicit activities. The most infamous scandal of the time was the [[Teapot Dome]] affair, which shook the nation for years after Harding's death. The scandal involved [[United States Secretary of the Interior|Secretary of the Interior]] [[Albert B. Fall]], who was [[conviction|convicted]] of accepting bribes and illegal no-interest personal loans in exchange for the leasing of public [[oil field]]s to business associates. (Absent the bribes and personal loans, the leases themselves were quite legal.) In 1931, Fall became the first member of a [[Presidential Cabinet]] to be sent to [[prison]]. UNIQa7ed14f798b0ec35-nowiki-00000016-QINU8UNIQa7ed14f798b0ec35-nowiki-00000017-QINU [[Thomas W. Miller]], head of the [[Alien Property Custodian|Office of Alien Property]], was convicted of accepting bribes. [[Jess Smith]], personal aide to the [[Attorney General]], destroyed papers and then committed [[suicide]]. [[Charles Forbes]], Director of the [[Veterans Bureau]], skimmed profits, earned large amounts of [[political corruption|kickbacks]], and directed underground alcohol and drug distribution. He was convicted of [[fraud]] and [[bribery]] and drew a two-year [[Prison sentence|sentence]]. Charles Cramer, an aide to Charles Forbes, committed suicide. No evidence to date suggests that Harding personally profited from these crimes, but he was apparently unable to stop them. "I have no trouble with my enemies," Harding said, "but my damn friends, they're the ones that keep me walking the floor nights!"UNIQa7ed14f798b0ec35-nowiki-00000019-QINU9UNIQa7ed14f798b0ec35-nowiki-0000001A-QINU It has also been suggested by historian Wyn Craig Wade, in his 1987 book ''The Fiery Cross'', that Harding had ties with the Ku Klux Klan, perhaps even having been inducted into the organization in a private White House ceremony. Evidence includes the taped testimony of one of the members of the alleged induction team, however beyond that it is scant at best and the theory is generally discounted.UNIQa7ed14f798b0ec35-nowiki-0000001C-QINU10UNIQa7ed14f798b0ec35-nowiki-0000001D-QINU ===Death=== [[Image:HardingFuneral.jpg|thumb|right|President Harding's casket passes by the front of the [[White House]].]] [[Image:hardingMem.jpg|thumb|right|The [[Harding Memorial]] in [[Marion, Ohio]] is considered by many historians to be the most beautiful of Presidential Tombs in the [[United States]].]] In June 1923, Harding set out on a cross-country "Voyage of Understanding," planning to meet ordinary people and explain his policies. During this trip, he became the first president to visit [[Alaska]].UNIQa7ed14f798b0ec35-nowiki-0000001F-QINU11UNIQa7ed14f798b0ec35-nowiki-00000020-QINU Rumors of [[political corruption|corruption]] in his administration were beginning to circulate in Washington by this time, and Harding was profoundly shocked by a long message he received while in Alaska, apparently detailing illegal activities previously unknown to him. At the end of July, while traveling south from Alaska through [[British Columbia]], he developed what was thought to be a severe case of [[food poisoning]]. He gave the final speech of his life to a large crowd at the University of Washington Stadium (now [[Husky Stadium]]) at the [[University of Washington]] campus in [[Seattle, Washington]]. A scheduled speech in [[Portland, Oregon]] was canceled. The President's train proceeded south to [[San Francisco]]. Arriving at the [[Palace Hotel, San Francisco|Palace Hotel]], he developed [[pneumonia]]. Harding died of either a [[myocardial infarction|heart attack]] or a [[stroke]] at 7:35 p.m. on [[August 2]] [[1923]]. The formal announcement, printed in the New York ''Times'' of that day, stated that "A [[stroke]] of [[apoplexy]] was the cause of death." He had been ill exactly one week.UNIQa7ed14f798b0ec35-nowiki-00000022-QINU12UNIQa7ed14f798b0ec35-nowiki-00000023-QINU [[United States Navy|Naval]] physicians surmised that he had suffered a [[myocardial infarction|heart attack]]; however, this [[medical diagnosis|diagnosis]] was not made by Dr. [[Charles E. Sawyer]], the [[Surgeon General]], who was traveling with the presidential party. Mrs. Harding refused permission for an [[autopsy]], which soon led to speculation that the President had been the victim of a plot, possibly carried out by his wife. [[Gaston Means|Gaston B. Means]], an amateur historian and [[Gadfly (social)|gadfly]], noted in his book ''The Strange Death of President Harding'' (1930) that the circumstances surrounding his death lent themselves to some suspecting he had been poisoned. Several individuals attached to him, personally, and politically, would have welcomed Harding's death, as they would have been disgraced in association by Means' assertion of Harding's "imminent impeachment". Although Means was later discredited for publically accusing Mrs. Harding of the murder, enough doubts surround the President's death to keep reputable scholars open to the possibility of murder. [[:Template:Fix]] Harding was succeeded by [[Vice President of the United States|Vice President]] [[Calvin Coolidge]], who was sworn in by his father, a [[Justice of the Peace]], in [[Plymouth Notch]], [[Vermont]]. Following his death, Harding's body was returned to Washington, where it was placed in the East Room of the [[White House]] pending a [[state funeral]] at the [[United States Capitol]]. [[White House]] employees at the time were quoted as saying that the night before the funeral, they heard Mrs. Harding speak for more than an hour to her dead husband. Harding was entombed in the receiving vault of the Marion Cemetery, Marion, Ohio, in August 1923. Following Mrs. Harding's death on [[November 21]], [[1924]], she too was temporarily buried next to her husband. Both bodies were moved in December 1927 to the newly completed [[Harding Memorial]] in Marion, which was dedicated by President [[Herbert Hoover]] in 1931. The lapse between the final interment and the dedication was partly because of the aftermath of the [[Teapot Dome]] scandal. At the time of his death, Harding was also survived by his father. Harding and [[John F. Kennedy]] are the only two Presidents to have predeceased their fathers.[[:Template:Fix]] They are also the only two Presidents to have been elected to the Presidency as sitting Senators.UNIQa7ed14f798b0ec35-nowiki-00000025-QINU13UNIQa7ed14f798b0ec35-nowiki-00000026-QINU ==Personal scandals and allegations== ===Extramarital affairs=== The extent to which Harding engaged in extramarital affairs is somewhat controversial. It has been recorded in primary documents that Harding had an affair with [[Carrie Fulton Phillips]]; [[Nan Britton]] wrote ''The President's Daughter'' in 1927, documenting her affair and the alleged child (Elizabeth Ann) with Harding. Rumors of the Harding love letters circulated through Marion, Ohio, for many years. However, their existence was not confirmed until 1968, when author [[Francis Russell]] gained access to them during his research for his book, ''The Shadow of Blooming Grove''. The letters were in the possession of Phillips. Phillips kept the letters in a box in a closet and was reluctant to share them. Russell persuaded her to relent, and the letters showed conclusively that Harding had a 15-year relationship with Mrs. Phillips, who was then the wife of his friend James Phillips, owner of the local [[department store]], the Uhler-Phillips Company. Mrs. Phillips was almost eight years younger than Harding. By 1915, she began pressing Harding to leave his wife. When he refused, she left her husband and moved to [[Berlin]] with her daughter Isabel. However, as the United States became increasingly likely to be drawn into [[World War I]], Mrs. Phillips moved back to the U.S. and the affair reignited. Harding was now a U.S. Senator, and a vote was coming up on a declaration of war against [[Germany]].[[:Template:Fix]] Mrs. Phillips threatened to go public with their affair if the Senator supported the war, but Harding defied her and voted for war, and Phillips did not reveal the scandal to the world. When Harding won the Republican Presidential nomination in 1920, he did not disclose the relationship to party officials. Once they learned of the affair, it was too late to find another nominee. To reduce the likelihood of a scandal breaking, the [[Republican National Committee]] sent Phillips and her family on a trip to [[Japan]] and paid them over $50,000.Template:Fix She also received monthly payments thereafter, becoming the first and only person known to have successfully extorted money from a major political party.

The letters Harding wrote to Mrs. Phillips were confiscated at the request of the Harding heirs, who requested and received a court injunction prohibiting their inclusion in Russell's book. Russell in turn left quoted passages from the letters as blank passages in protest against the Harding heirs' actions. The Harding-Phillips love letters remain under an Ohio court protective order that expires in 2023, 100 years after Harding's death, after which the content of the letters may be published or reviewed.

File:WGHarding.jpg
Warren Gamaliel Harding.

Besides Mrs. Phillips, Harding also reportedly had an affair with Nan Britton, the daughter of Harding's friend Dr. Britton of Marion. Britton's claim that he had fathered her child was widely circulated in the years just after Harding's death, and it is often cited as one of the best-known "facts" about Harding, but it has not been proved to the satisfaction of most historians.

Nan Britton's obsession with Harding started at an early age when she began pasting pictures of Senator Harding on her bedroom walls.Template:Fix According to Britton's book The President's Daughter, she and Senator Harding conceived a daughter, Elizabeth Ann, in January of 1919, in his Senate office. Elizabeth Ann was born on October 22 1919. Harding never met Elizabeth Ann but paid large amounts of child support.Template:Fix Harding and Britton, according to unsubstantiated reports, continued their affair while he was President, using a closet adjacent to the Oval Office for privacy. Following Harding's death, Britton unsuccessfully sued the estate of Warren G. Harding on behalf of Elizabeth Ann. Under cross-examination by Harding heirs' attorney, Grant Mouser (a former member of Congress himself), Britton's testimony was riddled with inconsistencies, and she lost her case. Britton married a Mr. Christian, who adopted Elizabeth Ann. In adulthood, Elizabeth Ann married Henry Blaesing and raised a family. During most of her life she shied from press coverage about her alleged birthright, and refused requests for interviews in her later years. She died on November 17, 2005, in Oregon.

Speaking style

Although a commanding and powerful speaker, Harding was notorious for his verbal gaffes, such as his comment "I would like the government to do all it can to mitigate, then, in understanding, in mutuality of interest, in concern for the common good, our tasks will be solved."[14] His errors were compounded by his insistence on writing his own speeches. Although it might not have been a mispronunciation as some thought, Harding's most famous "mistake" was his use of the word "normalcy" when the more correct word to use at the time would have been "normality." Harding decided he liked the sound of the word and made "Return to Normalcy" a recurring theme. Critic H.L. Mencken disagreed, saying of Harding, "He writes the worst English that I have ever encountered. It reminds me of a string of wet sponges; it reminds me of tattered washing on the line; it reminds me of stale bean soup, of college yells, of dogs barking idiotically through endless nights. It is so bad that a sort of grandeur creeps into it. It drags itself out of the dark abysm of pish, and crawls insanely up the topmost pinnacle of posh. It is rumble and bumble. It is flap and doodle. It is balder and dash." Mencken also coined the term "Gamalielese" to refer to Harding's distinctive style of speech. Upon Harding's death, poet E. E. Cummings said "The only man, woman or child who wrote a simple declarative sentence with seven grammatical errors is dead."[14]

Some suggest Harding had a form of aphasia.[15]

Memorials

File:Statu of US and Canada Relationship.jpg
A statue honoring Harding on a speech he delivered on relations between the United States and Canada in Stanley Park, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Sources

  • Template:Citation/core
  • Anthony, Carl S. Florence Harding: The First Lady, the Jazz Age, and the Death of America's Most Scandalous President. (1998)
  • Dean, John W. Warren G. Harding (The American Presidents Series). Times Books, Henry Holt and Company, LLC, 2004
  • Downes Randolph C. The Rise of Warren Gamaliel Harding, 1865–1920. Ohio University Press, 1970
  • Fine, Gary Alan. "Reputational Entrepreneurs and the Memory of Incompetence: Melting Supporters, Partisan Warriors, and Images of President Harding." American Journal of Sociology 1996 101(5): 1159-1193. Issn: 0002-9602 Fulltext: in Jstor and Ebsco
  • Grant, Philip A., Jr. "President Warren G. Harding and the British War Debt Question, 1921-1923." Presidential Studies Quarterly 1995 25(3): 479-487. Issn: 0360-4918
  • Template:Citation/core
  • "An International Problem" Marion Daily Star, October 26, 1921.
  • Kenneth J. Grieb; The Latin American Policy of Warren G. Harding 1976 online
  • Malin, James C. The United States after the World War 1930. online detailed analysis of foreign and economic policies
  • Morello, John A. Selling the President, 1920: Albert D. Lasker, Advertising, and the Election of Warren G. Harding. Praeger, 2001.
  • Murray Robert K. The Harding Era 1921-1923: Warren G. Harding and his Administration. University of Minnesota Press, 1969, the standard academic study
  • Payne, Phillip. "Instant History and the Legacy of Scandal: the Tangled Memory of Warren G. Harding, Richard Nixon, and William Jefferson Clinton." Prospects 2003 28: 597-625. Issn: 0361-2333
  • Template:Citation/core
  • Sinclair, Andrew. The Available Man: The Life behind the Masks of Warren Gamaliel Harding 1965 online full-scale biography
  • "Social Equality Impossible for Negro, Says President, Pleading for Fair Treatment." Atlanta-Journal Constitution, October 27, 1921.

Media

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See also

External links

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Notes

  1. ^ The Biography of Warren. G. Harding
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  6. ^ "Eugene V. Debs", Time (magazine), Monday, November 1, 1926. Retrieved on 2007-08-21. "He was Eugene Victor Debs, labor leader. He was in jail for the violation of an injunction. Back of this event was the story of an Indiana grocery clerk, a locomotive fireman, who became the organizer of the American Railway Union, who twice made the nation feel the fist of unionized labor. The second time was the great strike against the Pullman Co. in 1894 when President Cleveland had to dispatch troops to Chicago to quell the riotous bloodshed. Eugene Debs and three others, indicted for conspiracy against the Government, were successfully defended by Clarence S. Darrow." 
  7. ^ Murray (1969)
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  10. ^ Straight Dope Staff Report: Was Warren Harding inducted into the Ku Klux Klan while president?
  11. ^ President Harding's 1923 Visit to Utah by W. Paul Reeve History Blazer July 1995
  12. ^ "Harding a Farm Boy Who Rose by Work", New York Times. Retrieved on 2007-07-21. "Nominated for the Presidency as a compromise candidate and elected by a tremendous majority because of a reaction against the policies of his predecessor, Warren Gamaliel Harding, twenty-ninth President of the United States, owed his political elevation largely to his engaging personal traits, his ability to work in harmony with the leaders of his party and the fact that he typified in himself the average prosperous American citizen." 
  13. ^ Chan, Sewell; and Richard Pérez-Peña. "If Clinton Should Win, Who Would Take Her Place?", The New York Times, 2007-01-22. Retrieved on 2007-11-01. 
  14. ^ a b Stephen Pile, The Book of Heroic Failures (Futura, 1980) p.180.
  15. ^ President Warren Harding: Health and Medical History

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