President Warren Gamaliel Harding
b.2 NOV 1865 Blooming Grove, Morrow, Ohio, United States
Facts and Events
Warren Gamaliel Harding (November 2, 1865 – August 2, 1923) was the 29th President of the United States (1921–1923), a Republican from Ohio who served in the Ohio Senate and then in the United States Senate where he protected alcohol interests and moderately supported women's suffrage. He was the first incumbent U.S. senator and (self-made) newspaper publisher to be elected U.S. president.
Harding was the compromise candidate in the 1920 election, when he promised the nation a return to "normalcy", in the form of a strong economy, independent of foreign influence. This program was designed to rid Americans of the tragic memories and hardships faced during World War I. Harding and the Republican Party had desired to move away from progressivism that dominated the early 20th century. He defeated Democrat and fellow Ohioan James M. Cox in the largest presidential popular vote landslide (60.32% to 34.15%) since popular vote totals were first recorded.
Harding not only put the "best minds" on his cabinet including Herbert Hoover as Secretary of Commerce and Charles Evans Hughes as Secretary of State, but also rewarded his friends and contributors, known as the Ohio Gang, with powerful positions. Cases of corruption, including the notorious Teapot Dome scandal, arose resulting in prison terms for his appointees. He was a keen poker player, who once gambled away on a single hand an entire set of White House china dating back to Benjamin Harrison. Harding did manage to clean up corruption in the Veterans Bureau.
Domestically, Harding signed the first federal child welfare program, dealt with striking mining and railroad workers, including supporting an 8-hour work day, and attended an unemployment rate drop by half. He also set up the Bureau of the Budget to prepare the United States federal budget. Harding advocated an anti-lynching bill to curb violence against African Americans; it failed to pass. In foreign affairs, Harding spurned the League of Nations, and (Congress having rejected the Treaty of Versailles) signed a World War I peace treaty with Germany and Austria separate from the other Allies. Harding promoted a successful world naval program.
Harding was the first sitting U.S. president to visit Canada, having visited Vancouver on July 26, 1923. In August 1923, Harding suddenly collapsed and died in California. His administration's many scandals have historically earned Harding a low ranking as president, but there has been growing recognition of his fiscal responsibility and endorsement of African-American civil rights. Harding has been viewed as a more modern politician who embraced technology and who was sensitive to the plights of minorities, women, and labor.
Married Florence Kling; they had no children.