U.S. President Warren G. Harding Psychohistory

About the U.S. President Warren G. Harding, history and a psychological analysis or psychohistory.


29th President




Shortly before his inauguration, Harding said that he could not hope to be the best president in the country's history, but he wanted to be the best loved; affection was always more important to him than achievement. This insatiable appetite for love stemmed from his own sense of insecurity and unworthiness. The social position of the Hardings was always somewhat unstable, and Warren never forgot the taunts of boys at school that he was "a nigger." Probably the main motivation in Harding's marriage to the Duchess was a desire for increased social status, but his wife never provided the warmth and reassurance that he so desperately needed. As he advanced in politics, and began to occupy positions in which he frankly acknowledged that he was out of his depth, his sense of personal unworthiness and his need for devoted friends increased. A parallel sense of sexual inadequacy created the need for Harding's affairs. Doctors at a sanitarium had once told him that he was probably sterile as the result of a case of mumps in childhood. He and the Duchess never had children, yet he said that he would "rather have a houseful of kiddies than anything else in the world." Harding's deep-seated needs made him blind to the vices of his friends--and to the dangers of his sexual adventures--and his loyalty led him to ignore warnings that the cronies he had appointed to important government positions were in the process of disgracing him. If Harding had lived to learn the full extent of his betrayal by the friends that he had needed and loved, the psychic damage might have been incalculable.

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