President Harding’s Death
President Harding helps “to heal the demoralized and divided country he had inherited from Wilson.” Harding’s policies include: a restrictive immigration law, an expanded merchant marine, Bureau of the Budget creation, Veterans Bureau creation, acts to alleviate stress on farmers, emergency tariffs to help farmers, joining the World Court, and better working hours for labor to name a few. According to business historian Robert Sobel, Harding and Coolidge were quite different. Harding was out going and inquisitive, but not respected for his intellect. He was a chronic joiner of clubs, but both held similar views on government and the economy. That explains the continuity of their administrations.The executive’s main task, they thought, was to carry out legislation passed by Congress.
Vice President Coolidge fills an important social role, freeing the president from attending social functions. He also gives many speeches and his progressive political philosophy comes through in many instances. His travel brings him to visit many politicians and he is able to study many topics in depth. Unfortunately, according to Sobel, as Coolidge sat on the sidelines, “the Harding administration veered from political and diplomatic accomplishments to scandal-ridden distraction.”
President Harding is touring the West Coast in the summer of 1923. Reporters note that he was “weary and troubled”; his voice was hoarse, his face palid. When he reaches San Francisco, he is met by a heart specialist and a wheelchair. He dies there on Friday, August 2, 1923.
Sobel, Coolidge, An American Enigma, p. 221
William Morrow and Company, publishers of Florence Harding, The First Lady, The Jazz Age, and The Death of America’s Most Scandalous President by Carl S. Anthony photograph.