29th U.S. President: Warren G. Harding

About the twenty-ninth President of the United States Warren G. Harding, his birth, death, biography, description, facts and quotes.

29th President

WARREN GAMALIEL HARDING

Born: November 2, 1865, in the village of Corsica (later Blooming Grove), Ohio.

Died: August 2, 1923, in San Francisco. His sudden death, in the middle of a presidential goodwill tour, led to speculation that he had been poisoned by his wife in order to avoid disgrace (and probable impeachment) as the corruption in his Administration became known. Mrs. Harding refused to permit an autopsy on her husband's body.

Career: Schoolteacher, insurance salesman, organizer of the town band, small-town newspaper publisher, State senator, lieutenant governor, U.S. senator.

Personal Life: At 25, Harding married Florence DeWolfe, a divorcee 5 years his senior and the daughter of the town's richest banker. A cold, imperious woman, Florence was known to Harding and all his friends as "The Duchess." Over a period of 15 years, Harding conducted a passionate affair with the wife of a good friend; later, as senator and President, he became secretly involved with a gorgeous blonde in her 20s, Nan Britton, who bore him an illegitimate daughter.

His Person: A well-built 6-footer with white hair, blue eyes, and a smooth, dark complexion, Harding had the face and bearing of a matinee idol. Persistent rumors in his hometown alleged that the Harding family was "tainted" by Negro blood.

Election: In 1920, when the Republican convention deadlocked, a group of party bosses assembled in the original "smoke-filled room" to pick Harding--a little-known senator from Ohio--as their candidate. In November, public disgust with Woodrow Wilson and the Democrats gave Harding the greatest landslide in history to that time. He won more than 60% of the popular vote, and swamped Democrat James M. Cox in the Electoral College--404-127. Nearly one million Americans voted for the Socialist candidate, Eugene Debs, who was then serving time in Federal prison.

Term of Office: March 4, 1921-August 2, 1923 (2 years, 151 days).

Little-Known Facts: Despite his surface calm, Harding suffered serious breakdowns in time of stress. He was only 22 when he suffered his 1st nervous breakdown and went off to a sanitarium for several weeks. This was the 1st of 5 such episodes over the next 12 years.

Quotes from Harding:

"I am not fit for this office and never should have been here."

"American business is not a monster, but an expression of God-given impulse to create, and the savior of our happiness."

Quote about Him:

"If you were a girl, Warren, you'd be in the family way all the time. You can't say No."--Harding's father

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