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Title: Warren G Harding: A President for the Jazz Age

Description: Today we are joined by multiple time guest, author Ryan S. Walters to talk about the short, but important presidency of Warren G. Harding. Harding often doesn’t do well in presidential rankings, but Ryan is working to give us a new perspective on a president who was much more impactful than he is given credit for. Ryan lays out the case for Warren G. Harding in his new book: The Jazz Age President

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Learn More About our Guest:
Ryan S. Walters
Ryanswalters.net

Book Details

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Begin Transcript:

Thank you again for listening to Beyond the Big Screen podcast. We are a member of the Parthenon Podcast network. Of course, a big thanks goes out to Ryan S Walters, author of The Jazz Age President: Defending Warren G. Harding . Links to learn more about Ryan and his book can be found at at ryanswalters.net or in the Show Notes.

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[00:00:00] I’d like to welcome Ryan S. Walters back to beyond the big screen. Ryan is an independent historian and frequent guest of the show. Welcome back. And it’s great to have you on again. Thank you so much for having me. Thank you. I guess I’m a third go around. I think.
Oh, it’s my pleasure. And Brian is the author of several books, including disaster at NASA book on Apollo one. He is also the author of two books on Grover Cleveland. And you can listen to the episodes on both of these books or all three of these books and go back and, um, buy the books as well. And all of that.
Found in the show notes, but today we are going to talk about the 29th president of the United States. Warren G Harding. And Ryan has written a book on Warren G Harding on the jazz age. President Harding was president from March of 1921 to August of 1923. And this is a really [00:01:00] interesting time in American history and political history.
Now to set the stage, we talked about Grover Cleveland in one of your previous appearances on the podcast. And Cleveland’s presidency was during an age of great change. Cleveland was a Democrat and Harding was a Republican, but there seems to be some similarities that cross over in a lot of respects, what was happening in American politics during that roughly 20 ish years between Cleveland’s presidency and Hardings presidents.
Yeah. That’s, that’s something that, that, um, has made a lot of, uh, news and recent years. The, the two parties seem to have switched places, at least on a lot of issues from the 19th century to the 20th. And you’re exactly right. Cleveland was a Jeffersonian Democrat, and I call him the last Jeffersonian. He was really the last Democrat president that we had that.
Espouse those ideals of limited government states’ rights, federalism, low taxes, low tariffs, [00:02:00] no debt, things like that. Non-active government non-interventionist foreign policy. We don’t associate any of that with the democratic party today. I mean the democratic party after Cleveland started to go left beginning with William Jennings, Bryan, who was nominated in 1896, and then it went to Woodrow Wilson and FDR.
Um, both parties actually had. No conservative and liberal wings. It just depended on which one was dominated. Of course, as I said, the democratic party has just continued to go left a little more. Every time we get another democratic president, but there’s the conservative element began to dominate the Republican party beginning with Warren Harding.
Before that, uh, the Republicans were more progressive, there was a big progressive elements in the. Uh, the previous Republican presidents were Roosevelt and Taft. They were certainly nothing like Warren Hardy, but now you get this strong, conservative wing that begins to dominate the Republican party beginning with Harding and Coolidge, and kind of went away with Hoover.
But Harding [00:03:00] was probably the most conservative, Republican up until one, probably one of the most conservative Republicans we’ve ever had in the presidential. Can you to set him up just a little bit, tell us a little bit about his early career and his pre presidential career. And he didn’t have a lot. He didn’t serve a lot of time in the office.
He was not really. Career politician, a total of, of all of his years of service. It was only about 15 years. Harding was born on November the second, 1865 a year. The civil war ended, the civil war had been over several months. By the time he was born, uh, interesting fact toy. He was actually elected on November the second, 1920 he’s the only president we’ve ever had that was elected on his birthday.
Um, he began his career. Um, again, he wasn’t born wealthy by any stretch of the imagination, but he, but he got into journalism first as a reporter. And he eventually, as a very young man, um, bought a newspaper, the Marion star, he was in Marion, Ohio. Um, and made it a very profitable [00:04:00] enterprise, then that’s sort of what got him into politics because he got press passes, um, to attend political consensus.
He actually attended the first national convention. He attended the Republican national convention was in 1884. Uh, interestingly, which is the year Grover Cleveland was elected. So he was at the convening. That nominated James G Blaine against Cleveland before kind of what it is appetite for that, uh, who served a couple of terms in the Ohio state Senate early in the 20th century, he served one term as Ohio’s Lieutenant governor, uh, lost a bid in 1910, uh, for the governorship of Ohio, but he came back in 1940.
One a us Senate seat, a six year term in the Senate, which would end in 19, he would have to run for a second term, but he was given the presidential nomination that year at the convention. And then of course served 881 days as president of United States. Some of the major issues that were confronting the parties.
And, um, just in general, in the U S at that point for the. [00:05:00] The precedent to tackle. And this is something that I spend a lot of time on in the book. This is not a full biography of Warren Harding. I don’t go into a lot of his background, but there is some, if you don’t know much about him, you can certainly pick that up.
But I start the book with the fight over the league of nations in 1918. And you really have to understand Harding and Hardee’s election. You have to put them in the proper context. And there’s a reason Harding, a man like Harding and his vice-presidential candidate. Uh, Calvin Coolidge was elected because of what was going on in the country.
And you really have to go back to the previous 20 years that the country had been. In a progressive tide for the previous 20 years from Teddy Roosevelt TAF. And then of course, Woodrow Wilson, a lot of progressive reforms were going on and it was a lot of change for the people over there. Your period culminating in Woodrow Wilson’s crusade in Europe, world war one, a lot of historians tried to say, well, progressive isn’t really bad.
In 1917, we entered the war. No, [00:06:00] absolutely not. Not opinion. War one was a progressive. Uh, war, uh, it was for, you know, a war to make the world safer democracy, a war to end all wars. Those are progressive ideals. You look at what progressivism was about. We would, we just moved it to Europe. That’s all we’d done.
And so coming out of the war, you get the treaty of Versailles. You get the fight over the league of nations and Harding was in the Senate. The Senate had to approve that treaty with the league of nations. I go into that story. Woodrow Wilson would not compromise on that. What so ever. The problem is the league had, um, in the league, in the charter, it was in the treaty.

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"Warren G Harding: A President for the Jazz Age" History on the Net
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July 14, 2024 <https://www.historyonthenet.com/warren-g-harding-a-president-for-the-jazz-age>
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