Was President Harding Murdered?—Part I

Harder to crack than an old cold-case murder is a case that never was but should have been. Such is the situation with the sudden death of Warren G. Harding, 29th President of the United States of America. PluribusOne™ has concluded that Harding (1865-1923) did not die of natural causes. His stroke was precipitated by, we say, intentional poisoning. Although we prefer to be first in making a discovery, our research into Harding’s death has revealed that others have made arguments for the idea that Harding was murdered. When this happens, our goal is refined: to unearth new evidence, or develop a more compelling argument by using our Noetitek™ system. 

After achieving success as a journalist and serving as Ohio’s lieutenant governor (1904-06), Harding was elected in 1914 to the U.S. Senate. Republican candidate for the Presidency, he was elected in 1920—a landslide victory, the largest ever. The corrupt acts of some of his appointees have unfortunately been allowed by some historians to overshadow President Harding’s JFK-like qualities and remarkable accomplishments in the areas of: civil rights, welfare, government reform, economic policy, foreign policy, industrial expansion, innovative technologies, war veterans’ aid, arms control, unemployment reduction, and income tax cuts. It was Harding’s blindness to the dark schemes of those he trusted that proved tragic for the nation and fatal for Harding. 

Although it cannot be said that he was naïve in any broad sense, apart from his weakness for “liberated” women, Warren Harding appears to have been an affable and generous man of character who tended to overestimate the veracity of others. Although Florence Kling de Wolfe, the divorced woman who ardently pursued his attention, was daughter of his wealthy business rival, and despite the fact that her overbearing and exploitive—some would say “tyrannical”—personality was comparable to her father’s, Harding married her and allowed “the Duchess” to become chief source of influence in his personal, business, and political life. No one knew his susceptibility to seduction and betrayal better than she, except perhaps his personal physician, Dr. Charles E. Sawyer. 

At the time of his death, the public was not fully aware of scandals such as Teapot Dome which were soon to surface as a result of the worst shenanigans of members of his administration. Historical evidence shows Harding’s efforts to curtail corrupt activities as he became aware of them—he demanded the resignation of Charles Forbes, Director of the Veterans Bureau, for example—which argues against Harding’s willful complicity. Appointments to federal departments Harding had made, among other major decisions, were influenced by his wife and, perhaps indirectly, by his father-in-law. In any case, throughout his 28 months in office Harding had been personally effective and popular. His reelection was widely expected by all who were ignorant of the gathering storm. 

In June of 1923, to reinforce and insure his bond with the citizenry, President Harding set out on a cross-country “Voyage of Understanding,” a nationwide speechmaking trek to explain his unique political posture and policies in that radio age long before television and internet communications. He was accompanied by three cabinet members, by other dignitaries, his wife, and his personal physician, Dr. Sawyer. Harding’s health had been weakening over the months prior to the promotional tour; however, it was a different doctor, one who had met Harding at a dinner, who detected that Harding was exhibiting symptoms consistent with a cardiovascular ailment. 

(In Part II of this post, we will focus on Harding’s death and the evidence of murder.)

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