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To Close this President’s Day...


No one could do much to change my opinion of Harding’s prose, I don’t suppose, but herewith a professional historian offers a stout defense of the twenty-ninth chief executive (and, while he’s at it, of the eighteenth, nineteenth, twenty-fifth, twenty-seventh, and thirtieth).

I would suggest reading an actual history book on Harding, rather than relying on old (false) rumors. You might want to start with Robert Ferrell’s work. Harding was a better man, and President, than you know. He deserves better. Take a look at his opposition to Wilson. He wasn’t a chump or a moron.

I should add that conservatives concede far too many of these arguments. Too many of our assumptions about the past are rooted in a historiography that was always hostile to conservatives. We needn’t be ashamed of McKinley, Hayes, Grant, Taft, or Coolidge. Conservatives just don’t know enough about them, or their place in American political thought. I am not a conspiracy theorist or a nut. But I have studied these presidencies. Most of what you hear about these men is wrong.

Stephen Tootle, History Department, Georgia State University


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