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What is The Harding Administration?

The Harding Administration refers to the presidency of Warren G. Harding (1921-1923), 29th president of the United States, who died while in office (being succeeded by Calvin Coolidge). Harding was a Republican, whose policies can be considered a response to the progressive, Democratic policies of the Wilson administration (1913-1921). Harding's major policies included a reduction in marginal income tax rates, spear-heading a reduction in global naval armament (including e.g. Japan, Britain and France), handling labor disputes including the 1922 Railroad strike, an 8-hour work-day, and the support of anti-lynching laws (never passed due to a filibuster in the Senate but considered evidence for Harding's support of African-American rights) . The Harding Administrations is also known for the Teapot Dome scandal, a bribery incident in which Albert Fall, Secretary of the Interior was paid to grant Sinclair Oil and Pan American Petroleum access to lucrative oil fields in Wyoming (in an area known as Teapot Dome) without competitive bidding. Generally Harding is thought to have looked and acted very 'presidential' and to have surrounded himself with great minds (in his Cabinet) while perhaps not having the intellectual talent for the job himself.

Description by Jeff L. (Classical Archaeology major at Cornell University)

Warren Harding's presidency was fraught with corruption. Unfortunately, this corruption casts a long shadow over some of his accomplishments such as formally ending WWI and advancing civil liberties for women and African American. Regardless, with Woodrow Wilson as a predecessor and Calvin Coolidge as a successor, few historians seem to rank the Harding Administration as one with major significance in how our nation has been shaped.

Description by Oliver B. (Foreign Affairs/International Relations major at University of Virginia)

Why study The Harding Administration?

The Harding presidential administration of the early 1920s is a little-known period that is particularly important for understanding the period between World War I and World War II. Although President Warren G. Harding did not serve a full term (having died in office and been succeeded by Vice President Calvin Coolidge), he is best known for the Teapot Dome Scandal which caused serious turmoil for his administration. The scandal ultimately led to several revolutionary political reforms of the next several decades. In particular, Harding's lackluster management of alcohol prohibition was another major blemish on his administration. Ultimately, studying the Harding administration is primarily an important discussion because of its value in teaching what not to do and what mistakes to avoid for future political leaders.

Description by Charles G. (Divinity (academic discipline) major at Yale Divinity School)

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