Warren Gamaliel Harding
, 1865-1923. From Ohio
. A mediocre US
) during the years of World War I
; his claim to fame was in helping derail the United States
' entry into the League of Nations
. Twenty-ninth president of the United States, 1921-1923
; he died in office (of complications stemming from a variety of ailments, including pneumonia
) and was succeeded by Calvin Coolidge
. Harding had campaigned in 1920
from his front porch
in Ohio, keeping contact with the media
as minimal as possible, to avoid any brain cramp
snafus - this was no statesman.
The ruling ethos was that of "Return to Normalcy" - an end to the overseas worries about the War and the League, and a "turn back the clock" conservatism, undoing (by hook or by crook) the changes wrought by the Progressive Era that began with Theodore Roosevelt. But the Harding Administration is famous now for being one of the most corrupt ever to inhabit the White House, synonymous with scandals such as Teapot Dome and the looting of the Veterans Administration's funds, suicides (or was it murder?), and, after Harding's death, the tale (false, but lucrative) of a mistress and an illegitmate daughter.
Among the unindicted members of the Cabinet, Will Hays, the Postmaster General, went on to greater fame in Hollywood. Herbert Hoover, the Commerce Secretary, later succeeded Coolidge as president.