U.S. President Andrew Jackson Election and Term

About the U.S. President Andrew Jackson, a brief history of his election and presidential term.


29th President



Election: Nov. 2, 1920 ...

For president, the Democrats nominated the bespectacled governor of Ohio, James M. Cox. As his running mate they chose a handsome young assistant secretary of the navy named Franklin D. Roosevelt--in hopes of confusing the voters with the Roosevelt name and capitalizing on the popularity of his distant cousin, the Republican Teddy. Despite a vigorous campaign in which the pugnacious Cox approached his audiences "a little like a frontier badman shooting up a meeting," the Democratic cause was doomed from the beginning because of identification with the thoroughly unpopular policies of Woodrow Wilson.

The Republicans could afford to take it easy, and following the model of William McKinley's "front porch campaign," Harding did most of his campaigning from his home in Marion. This conformed well with the expert advice of Pennsylvania Sen. Boies Penrose: "Keep Warren at home. If he goes out on tour, somebody's sure to ask him questions, and Warren's just the sort of damned fool that will try to answer them."

As the ideological basis for the campaign, the Republican managers selected a particularly eloquent passage from one of Harding's early speeches: "America's present need is not heroics, but healing; not nostrums, but normalcy; not revolution, but restoration; not agitation, but adjustment; not surgery, but serenity; not the dramatic, but the dispassionate; not experiment, but equipoise; not submergence in internationality, but sustainment in triumphant nationality." From this speech, the slogan "Back to Normalcy" was adopted, and it became the rallying cry for the Harding forces.

It was the greatest landslide in the history of American politics to that time. Harding won 16,153,785 votes to 9,147,353. This was the first election in which women throughout the country were given the right to vote, and it was assumed that their preference for the attractive Harding was one of the reasons for his impressive margin. Cox carried 127 electoral votes (all in the South) against 404 for Harding. Harding won even the normally Democratic state of Tennessee.

With the outcome of the Harding-Cox battle a foregone conclusion, nearly 1 million Americans voted for a man serving a term in federal prison, the great Socialist leader Eugene V. Debs.

Term of Office: Mar. 4, 1921 ...

Harding was sworn in by Chief Justice Edward D. White on the east portico of the Capitol. He was the first president to ride to the inauguration in an automobile, and his inauguration was the first one to be described over radio. One astonished British reporter summed up Harding's inaugural address as "the most illiterate statement ever made by the head of a civilized government."

Content to follow the leadership of Congress on most matters, Harding vetoed fewer bills than any other president of the 20th century. None of his six vetoes was overridden.

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