Harding and Coolidge's Presidency
By Jay Peeler and Drake Smith
In the year of 1920, there was no standout candidate for the Republican party. This is why Ohio Senator Warren G. Harding decided to run for the presidency. He ended up winning the Republican nomination after gaining the support of the political boss of Ohio, Harry Daugherty. As Harding's running mate, the Republicans nominated Calvin Coolidge, governor of Massachusetts. The two run their campaign around the promise of a return to "normalcy". The meaning of normalcy was never really clear but it sounded reassuring to the public. Harding and Coolidge won the election by a landslide over the Democratic nominee James Cox who was running with Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
Return To Isolationism and Fundamentalism
Fundamentalism was a belief that America should go back to the “fundamentals” that got them to where they were in that time period. Isolationism is the idea that America should be independent from other countries in the world and not get involved in foreign affairs.
When Harding became president, he gave government jobs to his friends and political supporters. This group of people became known as the Ohio Gang.
Teapot Dome Scandal
One of the members of the Ohio Gang named Albert Fall was responsible for this scandal. He secretly rented out government oil reserves to two different oil companies in turn for over $400,000. This information became public and Fall was sent to jail and became the first cabinet member to go to jail.
Coolidge Tries To Fix Harding's Mistakes
In 1923, president Harding died of a heart attack, and vice president Coolidge was named president. In many ways, the two men were opposites, and Coolidge tried to reverse what Harding did by firing all the members of the Ohio Gang. He allowed investigation of the Teapot Dome Scandal to continue and replaced the Ohio Gang with honest officials.
Helping American Business
As the new president, Coolidge was focused on helping American business. First, he lowered the income taxes on the wealthy and corporate profits and cut government spending. He then raised tariffs to protect American business and overturned laws that regulated wages for women and child labor.
Both Harding and Coolidge agreed that a limited role in the world affairs was best for the country. The League of Nations had just formed and Harding disapproved of American involvement in this committee. Harding wanted isolationism and many Americans believed.
Five Power Treaty
After WWI, the US, Britain, and Japan were in a naval arms race. In 1921 the Secretary of State invited Britain and Japan to try to make peace. Later the next year the Five-Power Treaty was signed by those three nations along with France and Italy. The treaty limited the size of the nation’s navies and was the first time that world powers agreed to disarm.
In August of 1928 the United States joined 14 other nations in signing the Kellogg-Briand Pact which was supposed to prevent any war. After a year, a total of 48 nations had signed the pact, but unfortunately it didn't have any serious effect on enforcing peace.
Becoming A Friendly Neighbor
During the early 1900's, America had great involvement in Latin American countries and Mexico. After elections took place in a few of these countries, Coolidge decided to withdraw all troops. Around the same time, Mexico threatened to take our foreign oil and mining companies. Even though Coolidge was asked to send troops to Mexico, he instead decided to make peace and negotiate.