Rescuing a Reputation: The Real Warren Harding (1921-1923)

The Busybody

Of all the smear campaigns leveled against good presidents, none confound me like those against Warren Harding. He usually ranks in the toilet of mainstream opinion, which is astonishing in light of how popular he was when he died. People saw him as a successful president who returned the country to the peace and prosperity everyone always wants. It was only posthumously that he became smeared — when his sex and graft scandals became highly public.

I won’t even acknowledge the sex scandals. They have no bearing on a presidential record. As for the graft, they are like the ones under Ulysses Grant: blown way out of proportion. There was Teapot Dome (Harding’s Secretary of Interior, Albert Fall, took bribes from oil company executives in return for the companies’ access to government oil reserves), shenanigans at the Department of Justice (Harding’s attorney general, Harry Daugherty, supposedly took bribes not to…

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About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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