Dec. 06 (Friday)

The 29th U.S. President
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 Warren Gamaliel Harding
Full Name: Warren Gamaliel Harding
Born: Nov. 2, 1865 in Caledonia (now Blooming Grove), Ohio
Died: Aug. 2, 1923 in San Francisco, California

Warren G. Harding was the 29th President of the United States (1921-23). He was a classic example of Big Business running the government.

Harding had been invited to join leading corporate boards and fraternal organizations after his newspaper became successful in the early 1890’s. Respected for his outward appearance more than his intellect, he was drawn into politics, serving in the Ohio Senate and then in the United States Senate, where he protected alcohol interests and moderately supported women’s suffrage. Pledging a welcome “return to normalcy” following World War I, Harding was elected President by the greatest popular vote margin to that time (60%-34%), becoming the first incumbent U.S. senator and (self-made) newspaper publisher to be elected U.S. President.

Under Harding, the U.S. hosted the Washington Naval Disarmament Conference (1921-22), which succeeded in halting an international arms race in production of large naval vessels. It was by far the most important achievement of Harding’s presidency, which ended during his third year in office when he died and was succeeded by Vice President Calvin Coolidge.

Soon after his death, Harding’s reputation was shredded as one scandal after another was exposed, including the Teapot Dome Scandal, one of the most famous scandals in American history. It was also rumored that President Harding drank heavily and and indulged in extramarital affairs, further sealing his reputation as one of the worst U.S. presidents, though he now has competition from George W. Bush and Barack Obama.