Warren G. Harding - Facts, Presidency and Death

Warren G. Harding - Facts, Presidency and Death

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The 29th U.S. Harding’s presidency was overshadowed by the criminal activities of some of his cabinet members and other government officials, although he himself was not involved in any wrongdoing. An Ohio native and Republican, Harding was a successful newspaper publisher who served in the Ohio legislature and the U.S. Senate. In 1920, he won the general election in a landslide, promising a “return to normalcy” after the hardships of World War I (1914-1918). As president, he favored pro-business policies and limited immigration. Harding died suddenly in San Francisco in 1923, and was succeeded by Vice President Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933). After Harding’s death, the Teapot Dome Scandal and other instances of corruption came to light, damaging his reputation.

Warren Harding’s Early Years

Warren Gamaliel Harding was born on November 2, 1865, on a farm in the small Ohio community of Corsica (present-day Blooming Grove). He was the oldest of eight children of George Harding (1843-1928), a farmer who later became a doctor and part owner of a local newspaper, and Phoebe Dickerson Harding (1843-1910), a midwife.

Harding graduated from Ohio Central College (now defunct) in 1882 and moved to Marion, Ohio, where he eventually found work as a newspaper reporter. In 1884, he and several partners purchased a small, struggling newspaper, the Marion Star.

In 1891, Harding married Florence Kling De Wolfe (1860-1924), a Marion native with one son from a previous relationship. The Hardings had no children together, and Florence Harding helped manage the business operations for her husband’s newspaper, which became a financial success. She later encouraged Warren Harding’s political career and once remarked, “I have only one real hobby–my husband.”

Warren Harding’s Rise in the Republican Party

Warren Harding, a Republican, began his political career in 1898 by winning election to the Ohio senate, where he served until 1903. He was Ohio’s lieutenant governor from 1904 to 1906 but lost his bid for the governorship in 1910. Two years later, he stepped into the national spotlight at the Republican National Convention when he gave a speech nominating President William Taft (1857-1930) for a second term. In 1914, Harding was elected to the U.S. Senate, where he remained until his 1921 presidential inauguration. The congenial Harding had an undistinguished career in the Senate. While he supported high protective tariffs and opposed President Woodrow Wilson’s (1856-1924) plan for the League of Nations, Harding was generally a conciliator and took few strong stands on any issues.

At the 1920 Republican National Convention, delegates deadlocked over their choice for a presidential nominee and eventually chose Harding as a compromise candidate. Calvin Coolidge, the governor of Massachusetts, was selected as his vice presidential running mate. The Democrats named James Cox (1870-1957), the governor of Ohio, as their presidential candidate; Franklin Roosevelt (1882-1945), the former assistant secretary of the Navy (and future 32nd U.S. president), was picked as his running mate.

In the aftermath of World War I and the social changes of the Progressive Era, the pro-business Harding advocated a “return to normalcy.” He conducted a front-porch campaign from his home in Marion, and thousands of people travelled there to hear him speak. (Due to the high volume of visitors, Harding’s front lawn had to be replaced with gravel).

In the general election, the Harding-Coolidge ticket defeated the Democrats in the largest landslide up to that time, capturing some 60 percent of the popular vote and an electoral margin of 404-127. It was the first presidential election in which women across the United States could vote, having gained the right with the ratification of the 19th Amendment in August 1920.

Warren Harding in the White House

Once in office, Warren Harding followed a predominantly pro-business, conservative Republican agenda. Taxes were reduced, particularly for corporations and wealthy individuals; high protective tariffs were enacted; and immigration was limited. Harding signed the Budget and Accounting Act of 1921, which streamlined the federal budget system and established the General Accounting Office to audit government expenditures. Additionally, the United States hosted a successful naval disarmament conference for the world’s leading countries. Harding also nominated ex-president Taft as the chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. To date, Taft is the only former chief executive to have held this position.

Harding appointed capable men to his cabinet, including Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover (1874-1964), Secretary of State Charles Evans Hughes (1862-1948) and Secretary of the Treasury Andrew Mellon (1855-1937). However, he also surrounded himself with individuals who were later accused of misconduct. Harding was popular while in office, but his reputation was tarnished following his death when Americans learned of corruption within his administration–even though he had not engaged in any of this criminal activity. In one infamous incident, known as the Teapot Dome Scandal, Secretary of the Interior Albert Fall (1861-1944) rented public lands to oil companies in exchange for gifts and personal loans. (Fall was later convicted of accepting bribes and spent less than a year in prison.) Other government officials took payoffs and embezzled funds. Harding himself allegedly had extramarital affairs and drank alcohol in the White House, a violation of the 18th Amendment.

Warren Harding’s Death

In the summer of 1923, Warren Harding embarked on a cross-country tour of the United States to promote his policies. During the trip, the 57-year-old president became sick, and on August 2 he died of what was likely a heart attack (no autopsy was conducted) at a San Francisco hotel.

In the early hours of August 3, Vice President Coolidge was sworn in as America’s 30th president at his boyhood home in Plymouth Notch, Vermont, where he was vacationing. Coolidge’s father, a notary public, administered the oath of office.

Millions of people across the nation gathered along the railroad tracks to pay their respects to Harding as his body was returned from the West Coast to Washington, D.C. Harding’s Marion home was later designated a National Historic Landmark and opened to the public. The president’s tomb is also located in Marion.

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Warren Harding

Summary of President Warren Harding for Kids: "President Hardly"
Summary: Warren Harding (1865-1923), nicknamed the "President Hardly" or "Winnie", was the 29th American President and served in office from 1921-1923. The Presidency of Warren Harding spanned the period in United States history that encompasses the events of the WW1 & Prohibition era. President Warren Harding represented the Republican political party which influenced the domestic and foreign policies of his presidency including the policy of Isolationism. The major accomplishments and the famous, main events that occurred during the time that Warren Harding was president included the 1922 agreement to limit naval armaments signed by the US, France, Great Britain, Japan, and Italy. The Mellon Plan, a package of economic legislation, was introduced and the 1921 Emergency Quota Act used a percentage system to restrict immigration.

The close friends favored by President Warren Harding, referred to as the "Ohio Gang", were involved in bribery and corruption. The Teapot Dome Scandal (1921-1923), involved national security, oil companies and corruption but the president died before he was implicated in the scandal. Warren Harding died of a stroke on August 2, 1923, aged 57. The next president was Calvin Coolidge.

Life of Warren Harding for kids - Warren Harding Fact File
The summary and fact file of Warren Harding provides bitesize facts about his life.

The Nickname of Warren Harding: President Hardly
The nickname of President Warren Harding provides an insight into how the man was viewed by the American public during his presidency. The meaning of the derogatory nickname "President Hardly" refers to his lack of decisiveness and his inability to make hardly any important or controversial decisions during his presidency.

Character and Personality Type of Warren Harding
The character traits of President Warren Harding can be described as quiet, generous, humble and kind. Warren Harding had quite a low self-esteem and sought the good opinions and praise from people which led to his difficulty in making contentious decisions. It has been speculated that the Myers-Briggs personality type for Warren Harding is an ISFP (Introversion, Sensing, Feeling, Perception). A quiet, easygoing character with a a "live and let live" approach to life. A perfectionist, loyal to values and beliefs. Warren Harding Personality type: Practical, action-oriented and considerate.

Accomplishments of Warren Harding and the Famous Events during his Presidency
The accomplishments of Warren Harding and the most famous events during his presidency are provided
in an interesting, short summary format detailed below.

Warren Harding for kids - The Mellon Plan
Summary of the Mellon Plan: Andrew Mellon was a highly successful banker who was first appointed the United States Secretary of the Treasury by President Harding. He devised the Mellon Plan, a package of economic legislation , which reduced taxes on the wealthy and the corporations in America that encouraged growth and led to the boom in stock market investments. As part of the Melon Plan the Bureau of the Budget was established in 1921 as a part of the Department of the Treasury by the Budget and Accounting Act of 1921.

Warren Harding for kids - The 1921 Washington Conference
Summary of the Washington Conference : The Washington Conference was an international disarmament meeting called by President Warren Harding that took place from November 1921 - February 1922. The Washington Conference was hailed as a great success and led to three major treaties - the Four-Power Treaty, Five-Power Treaty and the Nine-Power Treaty.

Warren Harding for kids - Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
Summary of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier: The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was dedicated on November 11, 1921 as a monument to all those who had fallen during the Great War. In 1921 the body of an unidentified World War 1 soldier was exhumed from a World War I American cemetery in France and buried in Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery .

Warren Harding for kids - 1921 Emergency Quota Act
Summary of the 1921 Emergency Quota Act: The 1921 Emergency Quota Act used a percentage system to restrict immigration.

Warren Harding for kids - The Teapot Dome Scandal
Summary of the Teapot Dome Scandal : The Teapot Dome Scandal involved prominent members of the Ohio Gang, cabinet member Albert B. Fall, Secretary of the Interior and Edwin C. Denby, Secretary of the Navy, in relation to national security, oil companies and corruption. Albert Fall and Edwin Denby received "loans" (bribes) to lease land in Teapot Dome and Elk Hills to oil companies. President Warren Harding died unexpectedly of a heart attack on August 2, 1923. His reputation ruined by the activities of the Ohio Gang.

President Warren Harding Video for Kids
The article on the accomplishments of Warren Harding provides an overview and summary of some of the most important events during his presidency. The following Warren Harding video will give you facts about the events of his administration.

Accomplishments of President Warren Harding

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After college, Harding worked briefly as a teacher, an insurance salesman, and a reporter before buying a newspaper called the Marion Star. Through persistence and hard work, he was able to turn the failing newspaper into a powerful local institution. Harding used the paper to promote local businesses and build relationships with advertisers.

On July 8, 1891, Harding married Florence Mabel Kling DeWolfe. She was divorced with one son. Harding is known to have had two extramarital affairs while married to Florence. He had no legitimate children however, he did later have one daughter—Elizabeth—through an extramarital affair with Nan Britton.

In 1899, Harding was elected to the Ohio State Senate. He served until 1903, making a name for himself as one of the most popular Republicans in Ohio. He was then elected lieutenant governor of the state. Harding attempted to run for the governorship but lost in 1910. In 1915, he became a U.S. Senator from Ohio, a position he held until 1921. As a senator, Harding was part of Congress's Republican minority, and he tried to preserve his popularity by avoiding controversial political positions. On the subject of women's suffrage, for example, he did not voice support until other Senate Republicans did, and he took stances both for and against Prohibition.

Warren G. Harding - Facts, Presidency and Death - HISTORY

The Strange Death of President Harding

The news of his death was a shock to the nation, close friends and loved ones alike. He seemed so robust, big and strong. He was over six foot tall, handsome, friendly, unassuming and generous. In fact, the common view of Warren G. Harding was that more than anything he looked presidential. After the previous three presidents (Theodore Roosevelt who was like an actor bigger than life playing a part for history, William Taft who was just plain big, and Woodrow Wilson the cold distant intellectual who acted as savior to the world) this man, the first to be elected in an election finally allowing full participation by women, seemed a calming influence. Like the famous campaign phrase that brought him to office he seemed a "Return to Normalcy."

Now, midway through his term of office, he was dead. There had been no apparent sign of the approach of death for this relatively young president. At 58 he continued to love to travel, one of the most traveled presidents thus far in history, and meet the people. Assistants always had to try and reign him in. He would always stop in front of any crowd at the White House or train stop and shake hands and greet those who he had asked for their vote.

He had been born on a farm in 1865 near Blooming Grove, Ohio. He got enough education to take up teaching then editing a newspaper in Marion, Ohio. Actually he was not successful until he married Florence Kling. She became obsessed with her "Wurr'n" and personally took over the management of the newspaper. Throughout the rest of her life she was possessed with her husband's career and place in history. He probably reached beyond his abilities because of her. As an increasingly influential editor he won some low level state political jobs (state senator 1899-1902 and lieutenant governor 1903-1904) and eventually going to the US Senate (1915-1921) where his only distinctions seem to be golf and poker. Strangely, because he was so unconfrontational, everyone liked him. Then in one of those behind the scenes moves engineered by political bosses he became a candidate for president, a compromise against three other very capable possible contenders. He was elected in 1920 and probably was a person way over his head.

Harding's presidency was undistinguished. He dealt with people well and took extensive trips so he remained a popular president.One such trip to Alaska was strenuous and after he received a strange coded message from Washington he collapsed. At a rest stop at San Francisco more changes in the president's health began to occur. He complained of being very tired and then collapsed again. First reports were that he had ptomaine poisoning probably from eating tainted crab meat. The next day attending doctors called it pneumonia and proclaimed his condition as "grave." Then he rallied for a day before the final relapse on August 2nd, 1923. This came as his wife was alone reading to him. He went into a violent convulsion, she said, and was gone.

Why did Warren G. Harding die? There are several possible explanations.

First, there was his wife who knew of and tired of his numerous sexual trysts. For example, he and his wife had some close friends in Ohio with whom they frequently vacationed. Harding had an affair with the woman, Carrie Phillips, and she constantly threatened to expose him until finally rumors had reached the "Duchess," his wife Florence Harding. Of course, Carrie's husband knew, as well, and never forgave Harding for seducing his wife and ruining his marriage. Even more devastating was Nan Britton, a young girl from Marion, Ohio, who had a long lasting affair with Harding. In fact, Secret Service agents would bring her into the White House and the President would hide with Nan in the cloakrooms to make love. She got pregnant and had a daughter, Elizabeth Ann, who to her dying day claimed to be Harding's child. The president regularly sent money to Nan to help with the care of the child but otherwise accepted no responsibility. Florence Harding knew of these things and was increasingly losing her grip. Such scandal, as horrible and humiliating as it was to her, was even more terrifying now that she was the first lady. She had always been sickly, in fact she would die within a year of the president's death, and soon suspicion arose over her role in San Francisco. In fact, one former Bureau of Investigation agent, Gaston Means, claimed in a book called The Strange Death of President Harding that she killed the president. However, the reputation of Gaston Means was highly suspect as well. However, the first lady was adamant in not allowing an autopsy of her dead husband. Nor did she allow for the customary death mask to be cast. Many thought she feared any too close a look at the dead president.

Depression and self inflicted death might be another possibility. In his youth Harding had a frail emotional and psychological health. When he was 24 he had a nervous breakdown and spent several weeks in Dr. Kellogg's sanatorium in Battle Creek, Michigan. He was there in 1889, 1894, 1897 and 1903. Besides golf he loved card games and once gambled away an entire set of antique White House china. Furthermore, there were definite signs of hypertension. Harding never believed he was up to the job of presidency. On numerous occasions he confided that he was in over his head. However, just as he was beginning to feel a little confident a long hidden secret was beginning to be rumored about.

Racism in the 1920s continued to be intense. And publications were beginning to appear attesting to the rumor that Harding's genealogy showed an African American connection. Professor William Chancellor of Wooster University wrote a book, The Right of the American People to Know, tracing the genealogy of the President and said that Harding was part African American. In the 1920s such news, true or not, was political death. Agents of the Secret Service and Bureau of Investigation quickly confiscated the printing and the plates of this book. However, a few slipped through and rumors were rife in America on the President's ancestry.

Furthermore, both Carrie and Nan were pressuring the President to leave the Duchess and take up his responsibility with them. He continued to put them off, and they continued to threaten. Carrie was erratic making all kinds of threats. In the meantime her husband quietly seethed in rage. But Nan, the mother of his child, was more determined. She did not want money alone, she wanted the Harding name. She would continually "show up" at places where the President would be. She loved to look upon him and by chance have Florence see her.

Lastly, it was clear that his popularity was beginning to decline. First, certain sectors of the economy, particularly the farmers, were not well off. For several weeks in late 1922 a steady stream of threatening letters came to the White House announcing that the President was "marked for death." Florence had gone to an astrologer and received premonitions of his death as well. Secret Service agents increased their security. Second, there were some disturbing revelations coming out of his own cabinet about corruption. Messages reached him in Alaska and his mood immediately turned worse. He confided to a close acquaintance: "I can handle my enemies, but God protect me from my friends! Perhaps, his leadership style was his doom. Harding appointed some good people to his cabinet (Herbert Hoover to Commerce, Charles Evans Hughes to State, and Andrew Mellon to Treasury) but there were some bad appointments and Harding pretty much let them go their own ways. A group of cronies came to Washington with him who were dubbed the "Ohio Gang." One such person was the highly political and devious Harry Daugherty, the person who got Harding nominated for president because, he exclaimed later, "He looked like a President." As a reward Daugherty, over the objections of many, was made Attorney General. Eventually he will be implicated in graft and forced from office. Daugherty's livein friend, Jesse Smith, saw the gathering storm and committed suicide under unusual circumstances. Smith feared and hated all guns yet he apparently shot himself in the head. Many felt he had been murdered.

Another of Daugherty's boyhood friends, William Burns, was named head of the Bureau of Investigation. Famed as a private detective Burns ran and misran the bureau as if it were his private detective agency. Any criticism of Daugherty, for example, ended in harassment by bureau agents. And it was rumored among insider bureaucratic that Harding knew of Dauherty's criminality and was going to expose and fire the Attorney General when he returned from Alaska. One of Burns' agents, Gaston Means, had been indicted (though not convicted) earlier for murder. Eventually he will go to jail for graft and influence peddling. He will claim in his book that he was in the hire of the first lady to spy upon the President and uncover any evidence of infidelity.

Two close friends appointed to Veterans Bureau and the Office of the Alien Property Custodian were arrested for graft. More importantly, one such appointment was the former Senator from New Mexico, Albert Fall, to be Secretary of Interior. By the spring of 1923, rumors inspired an investigation by Senator Thomas J. Walsh of the illegal leasing of government oil reserves in Teapot Dome, Wyoming to the Sinclair Oil company Fall had received $400,000 in gifts and "loans" from the oil company for his decision. Eventually this will bring down Fall and his imprisonment. In short, by 1923 the reputation of the Harding administration was hanging by a thread. Only a major diversion could keep the public from looking too closely at the personal and political debacle of Warren Harding's life.

Robert H. Ferrell. The Strange Deaths of President Harding (1996)

Gaston Means. The Strange Death of President Harding (1930)

Francis Russell. The Shadow of Blooming Grove: Warren Harding in his Times (1968)

President Warren Harding and His Cabinet Members

  • President Harding’s Cabinet members included Charles Evans Hughes as the Secretary of State, Andrew W. Mellon as the Secretary of Treasury, John W. Weeks as the Secretary of War, Edwin Denby as the Secretary of the Navy, Albert B. Fall (1921-23) and Hubert Work (1923-) as the Secretary of Interior, Henry C. Wallace as the Secretary of Agriculture,
  • Herbert C. Hoover as the Secretary of Commerce, and James Davis as the Secretary of Labor.
  • He allowed the farmers to buy and sell land through cooperatives under the Capper-Volstead Act of 1922. He also signed the law which created the Federal Narcotics Control Board.
  • In June 1923, Harding and the First Lady visited Alaska and the western states. They embarked via train from Washington to Portland and Oregon to San Francisco. It was believed that he developed pneumonia from his transcontinental trip.
  • On August 2, 1923, Harding died suddenly of a heart attack while staying at the Palace Hotel. His body was transferred cross-country through a funeral train. On August 8, a state funeral was held. His body was interred at the Marion Cemetery before it was re-interred to the newly-completed Harding Memorial in Marion, Ohio, in 1924. President Herbert Hoover dedicated the memorial on June 16, 1931.
  • Much of his correspondence was burned by his wife after his death. Speculations of corruption during his term came to public knowledge. Some of the big scandals involving his appointed officials include the Teapot Dome scandal, the Veteran’s Bureau scandal, Prohibition Bureau scandal, Shipping Board and the Office of Alien Property scandal, and Harding’s appointment of Harry M. Daugherty as his Attorney General.

President Warren G. Harding Worksheets

This bundle contains 11 ready-to-use President Warren G. Harding Worksheets that are perfect for students who want to learn more about Warren G. Harding who was the 29th President of the United States (1921-1923). His term followed the end of WWI. Harding was considered as one of the worst American Presidents because of the scandals exposed upon his sudden death.

Download includes the following worksheets:

  • Warren G. Harding Facts
  • Wobbly Warren
  • Mapping the Transcontinental Tour
  • Cabinet Members
  • Name the Acts
  • Political Career
  • Death and Scandals
  • On the Radio
  • Cartoon Analysis
  • Harding Administration
  • Be Like Harding

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Political career

Harding was elected a state senator (1899–1902) and lieutenant governor (1903–04), but he was defeated in his bid for the governorship in 1910. On most issues he allied himself with the conservative (“Old Guard”) wing of the Republican Party, standing firm against U.S. membership in the League of Nations and always supporting legislation friendly to business. He achieved national visibility when he was chosen to nominate William Howard Taft at the 1912 Republican Convention, and in his next campaign he was elected U.S. senator (1915–21).

When the 1920 Republican Convention deadlocked over its selection of a presidential nominee, party leaders turned—supposedly in a smoke-filled room in Chicago’s Blackstone Hotel—to the handsome, genial Ohioan as a compromise candidate. Paired with vice presidential candidate Calvin Coolidge, Harding eschewed a speaking tour in favour of a “front porch” campaign—similar to the one conducted by fellow Ohioan William McKinley 20 years earlier—in which Harding read carefully scripted speeches to delegations of visitors at his Marion home. After eight years of the administrations of Pres. Woodrow Wilson, during which Americans had been asked to sacrifice greatly to reform the United States and to aid the Allied cause in World War I, Harding’s undemanding call for a return to normalcy was precisely what war-weary disillusioned voters wanted to hear. Harding won the election by the largest landslide to date, capturing some 60 percent of the popular vote. In a speech to a special session of Congress on April 12, 1921, he outlined the direction which he thought the country should take in the coming four years, saying in part:

I have said to the people we meant to have less of government in business as well as more business in government. It is well to have it understood that business has a right to pursue its normal, legitimate, and righteous way unimpeded, and it ought have no call to meet government competition where all risk is borne by the public Treasury. There is no challenge to honest and lawful business success. But government approval of fortunate, untrammeled business does not mean toleration of restraint of trade or of maintained prices by unnatural methods. It is well to have legitimate business understand that a just government, mindful of the interests of all the people, has a right to expect the cooperation of that legitimate business in stamping out the practices which add to unrest and inspire restrictive legislation. Anxious as we are to restore the onward flow of business, it is fair to combine assurance and warning in one utterance. …

2. Challenges

Most of the challenges that Harding confronted as President seemed to stem from personal issues. He had a fifteen-year-long extramarital affair with one of his neighbors in Marion, Ohio. She blackmailed him before his run for the US Presidency, and was given hush money and sent to Europe. Harding also had an affair with another woman from Marion as well. She gave birth to his daughter and, although he never acknowledged the child publicly, he sent $500.00 each month for child support. It was not until 2015 that the daughter was confirmed as his own, found to be Harding’s through DNA testing.

The illegitimate daughter

Between around 1917 to 1923, Harding had a romantic relationship with Nan Britton, a woman 31 years his junior, which resulted in the birth of a daughter. For years, it was debated whether Elizabeth Ann Blaesing was actually the president's daughter, until DNA testing in 2015 confirmed his paternity.

Five years after Harding's death, Britton published her book The President’s Daughter, which scandalised public opinion at the time thanks to revealing intimate details such as the sexual relations that allegedly took place in a coat closet in the executive office of the White House.

The shock was so great that it was even speculated that the president's death had to do with his infidelities, including the theory that he was poisoned by his wife, who was blinded by jealousy.

Britton fought for years for her daughter to be acknowledged, first with the revelations in the book and then by legal means. But the court ruled against her and she died in 1991, at the age of 94, without her wish becoming a reality. Elizabeth Blaesing herself died in 2005 before it was confirmed that Harding was her father.

The mystery was solved in 2015, however. Descendants of Harding and Blaesing agreed to have DNA analyses performed, which revealed that Elizabeth, born in 1919, was in fact the president's daughter.

The news also resolved some of the most scandalous claims in Britton's book: Elizabeth was born in 1919, before Harding was elected president in 1920, and therefore she could not have been conceived in a closet in the White House or anywhere else in the presidential residence.

But the relationship had continued until the president's death, giving rise to the allegations that he could have been poisoned by his wife, Florence.

Interesting Facts On Warren Harding

Warren G Harding, born on November 2, 1865, was the 29th president of the United States from 1921 to 1923. He died on August 2, 1923, while still in office, from what is considered to be a stroke.

Here are some interesting facts on Warren Harding:

  • Harding graduated from Ohio Central College in 1882 with a degree in science.
  • Harding died in 1923, while still serving as the president. His father, George Tyron Harding, passed away in 1928. This was the first time a father of a president had survived the son.
  • When Harding was 24 years, he suffered from a nervous breakdown. He spent many weeks at a sanatorium in Battle Creek, Michigan which was run by Dr J P Kellogg.
  • Besides being the president, Harding was also a successful newspaper publisher. He purchased the Marion Star newspaper in 1884 for a mere $300.
  • Since the US Congress had rejected the Treaty of Versailles, it meant that the US was still at war with Germany. However, in 1921, the Congress passed a joint resolution and Harding was called to sign the resolution to put it into effect. When he was called to sign, Harding was playing golf in New Jersey. He left the golf course and went to the house of Senator Joseph Frelinghuysen, where he signed the resolution and then returned to the golf course to continue his game.
  • Harding was the first US president to visit Alaska.
  • Florence Harding did not allow an autopsy on her husband at the time of his death. Therefore, it is not known how Harding died. However, many historians believe that he died from a stroke.

Warren G Harding was the 29th president of the United States. He was born on November 2, 1865 in a farm located in Morrow County, Ohio. His father, Dr George Tryon Harding, was a physician and Harding was the first of the 8 children that George Harding and Phoebe Dickerson Harding would have. Harding had one brother and six sisters. More..

Your history lesson on the death of Warren G Harding

He was the 29th President of the US, serving from 1921-1923. He succeeded Woodrow Wilson. He had been a newspaper publisher and the Senator from Ohio. When he was elected President, he brought along a lot of cronies who proved to be into graft and corruption. He decided to take a trip around the country, and became the first President to visit Alaska where he had dinner at the Fairview Inn (ah Hah!) He had been feeling poorly and had been known to have heart problems, but he had a holistic doctor (shades of Michael Jackson) who insisted on purges and laxatives. He was ill when he left Alaska and some said he got ptomaine poisoning from some bad crab legs at the Fairview Inn. He gave a lecture at the University of Washington, cancelled another speech in Oregon, and died in San Francisco a few days after his visit to the Fairview Inn. Calvin Coolidge was the VP and became President.

There was a lot of speculation about his death, and it is the favorite of true crime TV programs. Several theories!

He really died at the Fairview Inn, in the arms of his mistress Nan Britton, and his death was covered up until the body was transported to San Francisco. Or someone poisoned him when he ate at the Fairview Inn.

His wife did him in because she was sick of his extra marital affairs, or because there was a scandal brewing (The Teapot Dome Scandal) and she wanted to spare him. She refused an autopsy, which is why her involvement gained credibility.

He committed suicide because he had just learned that his Administration was under investigation and there would be a lot of revelations he wasn’t prepared to deal with.

The doctor did him in (negligent homicide) with his unorthodox treatment when the man was having a heart attack and he was being treated with purgatives.

Natural causes, meaning that he had a bad heart, and was a womanizer, a heavy smoker and drinker, stayed up until the wee hours of the morning playing poker, and his health failed as a result, but also brought on by the rigors of the trip and the stress caused by the pending scandal.

Or, one woman wrote a book that said he was black, the son of slaves who escaped on the Underground Railroad, and that he “Passed” into the white world, and may have been killed because of it. She wrote it as a member of his black family. The book is called “Death by Blackness”.

Or, he was killed by vampires.
(an actual theory, I’m not making this up!)

Warren G. Harding

Warren G. Harding was the 29th President of the United States.

Warren Gamaliel Harding was born on November 2, 1865, in Blooming Grove, Ohio. He spent most of his youth in the Marion County village of Caledonia, Ohio. Beginning in 1879, Harding attended Ohio Central College in Iberia, Ohio. At age 19, he and two friends purchased The Marion Daily Star, a newspaper in Marion, Ohio. Within a short time, he was the sole owner, acting as publisher and editor.

The Star did not make money for several years. It had competition from several other newspapers, and Harding was the youngest newspaperman in town. The paper's future improved once Harding married Florence Kling De Wolfe, a divorcee with a 10-year-old son, Marshall. Although Florence came from a wealthy family, her father did not like the idea of her marrying Harding, and he did not give her any of his money. Together, the Hardings pushed the Star forward. For 12 years, Florence managed the financial books and refined Harding’s use of news carriers. Her help allowed Warren to concentrate on what he did best – writing, editing the newspaper, and making good connections with advertisers and other people in Marion.

In 1898, Harding embarked on a political career in addition to running the Star, winning election to the Ohio legislature in both 1898 and 1900 as a Republican. In 1903, he became the state's lieutenant governor. Following a two-year stint in this office, Harding returned to The Star, but his life in politics was far from over.

Following an unsuccessful campaign for Ohio governor's seat in 1910, Harding won election to the United States Senate three years later. In addition, he gained attention as the person who put President William Howard Taft’s name into nomination for president at the 1912 Republican Convention. Harding was also selected as chairman of the 1916 Convention, delivering the keynote address.

As senator, Harding actively supported business interests by calling for high protective tariffs. Like many other Republicans, he also endorsed the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution and the Volstead Act, even though he thought Prohibition was a moral issue that could not be policed. Harding also was a strong opponent of President Woodrow Wilson's peace plan, known as the Fourteen Points, for World War I because of the vague language of one element of the League of Nations framework.

In 1920, the Republican Party deadlocked on its candidate for president of the United States, paving the way for Harding’s nomination on the tenth round of voting. He won the presidential election of 1920 with more than 60 percent of the popular vote. Harding was the first sitting-senator in American history to win election to the presidency. Harding entered the White House during a serious post-war recession, so he was concerned with helping businesses restart so people could find jobs, and with aiding farmers. He was also concerned with helping the soldiers from World War I who had been injured. He organized the Veterans Bureau, so these men could get both medical treatment and job retraining. Harding was also an advocate of equal civil rights for African Americans, and on October 26, 1921, gave a speech in Birmingham, Alabama on the issue.

During Harding's administration, the federal government implemented high protective tariffs, limited immigration, reduced taxes, and cut the federal deficit by 25 percent in two years. In 1921, Congress passed Harding's Budget and Accounting Act, consolidating the spending agencies of both the executive and legislative branches of the federal government. Harding’s actions were important to America’s economic recovery, but some historians also think the policies of Harding, Coolidge and Hoover, combined with many other factors, also contributed to the Great Depression's outbreak.

Harding assembled “the best minds” for his cabinet, with such highly regarded men as Charles Evans Hughes as secretary of state, Andrew Mellon in treasury, and Herbert Hoover as Secretary of Commerce. Two of them, though – Secretary of the Interior Albert Fall and Veterans Bureau Director Charles Forbes – were caught up in scandal. In early 1923, Harding learned that Forbes was pocketing money from the Veterans Bureau and forced him to resign. Two months after Harding’s untimely death in August 1923, Congress convened hearings about Fall’s activities. He was accused of accepting a bribe in exchange for awarding contracts for oil drilling on government land. After nearly 10 years in the news, the Teapot Dome Scandal (as it was known in the media) was settled. Fall was found guilty of accepting a bribe an oilman was found innocent of giving the bribe to Fall, so people still were confused about what had happened. There has been no indication that Harding knew about Fall’s unscrupulous activities.

In June 1923, Harding left Washington, D.C., to travel across the country and visit Alaska. Calling the long-planned trip the “Voyage of Understanding,” he wanted to hear from typical Americans about how they were doing, and he also wanted to tell them about what his administration was doing to help them. His visits to Canada and Alaska were firsts for an American president. His visit to Alaska was important to him. He wanted to fully understand how to craft a new policy which would both protect and wisely use Alaska’s natural resources. While on this trip, Harding died unexpectedly on August 2, 1923 in San Francisco due to a heart attack.

Florence Harding died of kidney disease just 15 months after Warren died. Within the next few years, several books were written that severely damaged the Hardings’ reputations. Harding was criticized for occasionally drinking alcohol in the private quarters of the White House while relaxing with friends. During this time of Prohibition, it was illegal to buy and sell alcohol, but not to drink it. A book was written by a man who was serving time in prison, alleging that Florence Harding poisoned her husband. Even though it was not true, people thought it was an exciting story and bought thousands of copies of it. In addition, a woman named Nan Britton wrote a book naming Harding as the father of her daughter. Ms. Britton lost the lawsuit she filed against the Harding estate. Today, historians are split over whether the relationship happened or not. Harding, however, did have an extra-marital affair with a Marion woman, Carrie Fulton Phillips. The affair occurred over a ten-year period and ended before Harding was in the White House. Because Harding’s presidential papers were not available for research until 1964, no historian could investigate the truth of many of the rumors swirling around the Harding story in the late 1920s and 1930s. The papers today are available for research in the Archives of the Ohio History Connection in Columbus, Ohio.


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