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President Warren G. Harding

Updated on January 7, 2017

Warren Gamaliel Harding (1865-1923) was the 29th president of the United States (1921-23)

Born in Blooming Grove (now Corsica), Ohio, Harding attended Ohio Central College.

In 1891 he married a wealthy widow, Florence Kling De Wolfe, who urged him into a political career. He bought and published a newspaper in Manon, Ohio.

He served in the Ohio state senate as a Republican and in 1904 he served a term as lieutenant governor.

He unsuccessfully ran for governor in 1910, and in 1914 he was elected to the US Senate.

After the 1920 Republican convention deadlocked, Harding was chosen as presidential candidate by a clique of party leaders in a " smoke-filled room." He ran on a platform of returning the country to "normalcy," a word of his own coinage. He easily defeated his Democratic rival, James M. Cox.

An unambitious, easygoing man, Harding displayed almost no talent or taste for the presidency. He left control of the administration to his advisers, who became known as the " Ohio gang." Soon reports of large-scale corruption and graft circulated-the most important example was the Teapot Dome scandal and congressional investigations were begun. Harding became ill and died before most of the scandals, among the worst in US history, were uncovered. He was succeeded by Vice President Calvin Coolidge.

Among Harding's staff who were prosecuted after his death were Albert B. Fall, his secretary of the interior, and Harry M. Daughtery, his attorney general.


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