Share This Article

On August 2, 1923, the handsome and congenial 29th president of the United States, Warren G. Harding, died under a cloud of scandal and mystery. Not considered to have been a particularly intelligent man, Harding owed his rise to political power to the driving ambition of his wife, Florence Kling Harding. As president, the Ohio native was troubled by scandals caused by his weakness for pretty women and a tendency to place unscrupulous friends — called ‘The Ohio Gang’ — in positions of power. In June 1923, the 57-year-old Harding, who suffered from heart disease, was so shaken by breaking reports of corruption in his administration that he went on a cross-country speaking tour to strengthen his position. On July 27, Harding suffered an attack of food poisoning. His unskilled physician, with the support of Mrs. Harding, treated the president with large doses of purgatives, which worsened his heart condition. Harding died on August 2, just before the Teapot Dome Scandal broke, the largest scandal of his administration.