Warren G. Harding's Presidency

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Why did Harding win the 1920 presidential election?

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The Republican candidate, Warren Harding, won an overwhelming victory over the Democratic candidate, James Cox, in the presidential election of 1920. In fact, it was the most lopsided result in the history of presidential elections.

The election was largely a referendum on President Woodrow Wilson's policies. He had not kept his promise to keep the country out of the war, and his plan to join the League of Nations was controversial. Progressives were also unhappy with some of his domestic policies.

The Republican convention at Chicago had difficulty choosing a candidate in mid-1920. Finally, in a smoke-filled room, they chose Harding, a senator from Ohio, on their eleventh vote.

The Democrats were in disarray. Wilson was not healthy, so they ultimately chose James Cox, the governor of Ohio. Franklin Delano Roosevelt was their choice for the vice presidency.

Harding's campaign slogan was a return to "normalcy," and it was perfect for the country's mood. Harding rejected membership in the League of Nations and pledged conservatism in domestic matters. The Democrats were divided over prohibition and other issues.

After easily winning the election with sixty percent of the vote, Harding entered the White House in 1921.

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