Warren G. Harding was considered one of the low-ranking presidents of the United States of America. He was elected the 29th President of the country on his birthday and served term from 1921 to 1923. He was nicknamed ‘Winnie’ and advocated the ‘return to normalcy’. He didn’t serve the full term as president as he died of an unexpected heart attack while travelling in California. Warren G. Harding wanted the country to move away from progressivism, which was predominant in the early 20th century. He and his running mate, Calvin Coolidge, defeated Democrat, James M. Cox and Franklin D. Roosevelt in the largest presidential popular vote landslide. Although Harding was scrutinized for a number of scandals, he also had a number of accomplishments to his credit. He signed the first child welfare program and helped the economy by lowering unemployment rates. He also set up the Bureau of the Budget that helped curb excessive federal spending. Although Harding spurned the League of Nations, and officially ended World War I, he signed a special treaty with Austria and Germany and proposed the participation of the U.S. in the International Court. If you would like to learn more about this interesting personality, scroll further for more.
Childhood & Early Life
Warren G. Harding was born on November 2, 1865 in Ohio.
He attended Ohio Central College at the age of 14 and became an accomplished public speaker there.
He graduated in 1882, following which, he taught at a country school and also sold insurance for a living.
In 1898, Warren G. Harding decided to pursue a political career. The same year, he won a seat in the Ohio legislature and served two terms.
In 1903, Warren G. Harding became lieutenant governor and served in this position for two consecutive years.
In 1910, he won election to the U.S. Senate. Following this, he supported business interests and advocated for protective tariffs. Like the other republicans, he defied Woodrow Wilson’s ‘fourteen points’ and supported prohibition.
Since Harding was well-known by Republican leaders and he had no political enemies it became easy for him to run for presidential elections. He gained 61 percent of the popular vote and won 37 of 48 states in the Electoral College. Harding was the first sitting senator who was elected president.
In 1921, Harding signed the Budget and Accounting Act of 1921, which allowed him to submit a unified budget to the congress. In foreign affairs, Harding also allowed for negotiations and deals to acquire rubber and oil from Malaysia and the Middle East, respectively. Thus, he was one of the proponents of an ‘open door’ trading policy in Asia.
Warren G. Harding was a part of many administrative scandals such as the infamous ‘Teapot Dome Scandal’, where Harding and a number of his other administrators such as Albert B. Fall and Harry Daugherty were involved in the process of defrauding the government. No evidence suggests that Harding was directly involved with the crimes but he was apparently, not well-equipped to stop them from happening. Another famous scandal was the ‘United States Shipping Board’ scandal where valuable steel cargo ships were sold for as low as $30 a ton without an appraisal board, even though they were worth $200 - $250.
Personal Life & Legacy
Warren G. Harding married Florence Kling DeWolfe in 1891. The couple had no children of their own. However, Florence had one son from her previous marriage.
Harding led the emblematic ‘American’ life, with idyllic scenery, elegant garden parties and supplies of liquor. It is believed that Harding played poker with close friends twice a week and also spent his free time travelling on his yacht, fishing and playing golf.
It is rumored that Harding fathered a daughter secretly with one of his lovers, Nan Britton.
On a trip to California in 1923, Harding suffered a massive heart attack and died on the spot. He was interred at Marion Cemetery in Marion, Ohio.
It is believed that Warren G. Harding was one of America’s worst presidents. Many historians saw the role of the president mainly ceremonial, leaving the administration work to the government. On the other hand, it is also said that Harding is also credited for his broad-minded opinions of public rights and race.
1865: Warren G. Harding was born on November 2nd.
1882: He graduated from college this year.
1891: He married Florence Kling DeWolfe.
1898: Warren began his political career and won a seat at the Ohio legislature.
1903: He was made the lieutenant governor.
1910: Harding won the election to the U.S. Senate.
1921: He assumed the role of 29th President of the United States on March 4th.
1923: He passed away of a heart attack, three years after he was made President, on August 2nd.