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History Unplugged Podcast

with Scott Rank

America’s Worst President Can Teach Us Much About Writing Raunchy Poetry and Dying Suspiciously

00:00 51:42
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The common view of Warren G. Harding is this: a likable affable fool from Ohio who was chose as Republican presidential candidate at a deadlocked national convention because he was the lowest common denominator. His cronies—the “Ohio Gang”— plundered the government while Harding pursued his vision of “a return normalcy,” which involved little more than writing raunchy poetry to his mistresses (which the Library of Congress made available to the public in 2014). Harding died in 1923, possibly at the hand of a political rival or a jealous wife. Historians agree with this assessment – in every poll of the president, Harding comes at the very bottom.

But what if this view is wrong? After all, Harding was beloved by Americans during his life and mourned deeply at his early passing. He was the first president to require a budget from Congress, improved relations with Latin America, and pushed for the inclusion of Black Americans into civic life.

In this episode, we’ll look at the legacy of America’s most hated president and if he deserves that distinction. Other topics include:

• Theories about his death There are lots and lots of theories about how he was murdered and they have to do with the belief he was always involved in scandals and womanizing.

• lurid poetry he sent to his mistress

• theories he might have been black (CSPAN episode from 1999 had lots of callers bout this)

• Whether Warren G. Harding’s reputation deserves to be rehabilitated.
December 17, 2020
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Meet Your Host
Scott Rank is the host of the History Unplugged Podcast and a PhD in history who specialized in the Ottoman Empire and modern Turkey. Before going down the academic route he worked as a journalist in Istanbul. He has written 12 history books on topics ranging from lost Bronze Age civilizations to the Age of Discovery. Some of his books include The Age of Illumination: Science, Technology, and Reason in the Middle Ages and History’s 9 Most Insane Rulers.. Learn more about him by going to scottrankphd.com.
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