More of Don's
Presidents' Places: Warren G. Harding
Warren G. Harding was a successful businessman and local politician who was thrust (through his own efforts) into the presidency unprepared. He conducted his campaign from the front porch of this house, giving talks to the thousands of people who gathered on the large lawn.
"I am not fit for this office and never should have been here," he once said. He was right.
Although he has become known as the worst president we ever had (prior to 2001), during his presidency he was immensely popular. When he died the nation went into shock.
"Flossie" (Florence Kling De Wolfe Harding) and "Winnie" had this house built in anticipation of their impending marriage, in 1891. It certainly is a beautiful home. Not the same could be said of their marriage, which was not a love match. Flossie was an ambitious divorcée, and Winnie appeared to her to be upwardly mobile (which he certainly was).
They didn't have any children together, but she had one by her previous husband, and he had one by one of his many girl friends. Flossie put up with his philandering to the point, so I have read, of intimidating the women Winnie was involved with to keep quiet or else.
An example of how people felt about Harding during his presidency is this three-in-one portrait. Looking at it from one angle you see Lincoln, from another angle you see Washington, and head on you see Harding.
The Harding Memorial is located in Marion, also. It is actually quite nice, although a little overdone, I would say. Both of the Hardings are entombed here.
November, 2001—HOLD EVERYTHING:
Revisionist history is ongoing. Apparently Harding has been underestimated all these years. He actually accomplished many very good things.
Unfortunately, his girl friend was a German spy, who apparently talked him out of running for president in 1916. He would probably have won (Wilson barely did) and no doubt would have acted far differently in World War I than Wilson did.
In 1920 he did run and won overwhelmingly. He calmed America down after World War I, he began the budget process for the federal government, he worked actively for peace in the world, he instigated the first armaments agreements, and he was a strong advocate for civil rights and civil liberties; he made a major address on race relations in Alabama, and he pardoned Eugene Debbs, among other things. He was immensely popular; the nation went into shock when he died.
His home, pictured above, is owned by the Ohio Historical Society, and is, or soon will be, shuttered and unused.