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Most Historians Consider Warren G. Harding America’s Worst President. This One Thinks He Belongs in the Top 10

April 07, 2022
00:00 38:33
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Most historians think of Warren G. Harding as a jazz-age hedonist who was much more of an empty suit than a serious president. Once in the White House, they argue, the 29th president busied himself with golf, poker, and his mistress, while appointees and cronies plundered the U.S. government. His secretary of the interior allowed oilmen, in exchange for bribes, to access government oil reserves, including one in Teapot Dome, Wyoming, the namesake for the scandal that hangs over Harding’s legacy today.
But one American history professor thinks that this narrative is hopelessly simplified andsimplistic. In fact, Walters, author of the book The Jazz Age President: Defending Warren G. Harding, that he belongs in the Top Ten list of U.S. chief executives.

He credits Harding with the following:

• Inheriting a postwar depression, Harding turned it into an economic boom. On his watch personal prosperity soared and unemployment fell to 1.6 percent
• He reversed Wilson’s grandiose plans to hand over American sovereignty to ambitious internationalist organizations
• He healed a nation in the throes of social disruption, releasing citizens imprisoned by the Wilson administration under the controversial Sedition Act of 1918 and using the bully pulpit to promote civil rights in the heyday of Jim Crow

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Meet Your Host
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
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