Warren Harding

 

Prohibition, a legal ban on the manufacture, sale and transportation of alcohol was adopted on a national level with the ratification of the 18th amendment to the US Constitution, January 16, 1919. It became law one year later, as per the conditions of the amendment.

Prohibition was repealed by adoption of the 21st amendment on December 5, 1933.

 

Warren G. Harding (1865-1923)

Warren Harding was the 29th president of the United States. He was inaugurated on March 4, 1921.

Harding's administration was riddled with scandals. The conduct of several of his cabinet members brought considerable criticism against the president and the Republican party.

The "Teapot Dome Affair" was perhaps the most famous scandal of Harding's administration. After jurisdiction over naval oil reserves were transferred to the Department of the Interior, secretary Albert B. Fall leased Teapot Dome to oil interests in exchange for a bribe. He eventually spent time in a federal prison because of his actions. The incident also resulted in the resignation of Secretary of Navy Edwin N. Denby, who had consented to the transfer of the reserves.

Attorney General Daugherty was charged with receiving payments from prohibition violators, and was forced to resign by Calvin Coolidge (Harding's successor).

Harding's wife, Florence Kling de Wolfe, was a powerful and controlling influence. A woman of wealth and influence, many believed that she forged Harding's political career. Their marriage was a stormy one, and Harding had several affairs. These included fathering a child by Nan Britton, a woman 30 years his junior.

In the summer of 1923 Harding was visiting Alaska when he received a coded message from Washington. The contents so distressed him that he collapsed. Corruption within his administration was far worse then he had thought, and he planned an immediate return to Washington. When he reached San Francisco, however, he became gravely ill.

Harding died on August 2, 1923. The official cause of death was listed as a stroke. Some doctors felt that a more likely cause was a heart attack. Some people believed that Harding's wife had finally become fed up with his affairs, and poisoned him because the scandal was coming to the surface. The fact that Mrs. Harding refused to allow an autopsy, and would not permit a death mask to be made gave fuel to these rumors.