Warren G. Harding

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America's present need is not heroics, but healing; not nostrums, but normalcy...

Warren Gamaliel Harding (2 November 18652 August 1923) was the 29th President of the United States, serving from 1921 to 1923, when he became the sixth president to die in office, most likely due to heart disease.


  • America's present need is not heroics, but healing; not nostrums, but normalcy; not revolution, but restoration; not agitation, but adjustment; not surgery, but serenity; not the dramatic, but the dispassionate; not experiment, but equipoise; not submergence in internationality, but sustainment in triumphant nationality.
    • Speech in Boston, Massachusetts (24 May 1920); Harding is often thought to have coined the word "normalcy" in this speech, but the word is recorded as early as the 1850s as alternative to "normality".
  • Practically all we know is that thousands of native Haitians have been killed by American Marines, and that many of our own gallant men have sacrificed their lives at the behest of an Executive department in order to establish laws drafted by the Assistant Secretary of the Navy. ... I will not empower an Assistant Secretary of the Navy to draft a constitution for helpless neighbors in the West Indies and jam it down their throats at the point of bayonets borne by US Marines.
    • Speech during Warren Harding's 1920 presidental campaign, critizing Woodrow Wilson's Haitian policies; quoted in Democracy at the Point of Bayonets (1999) by Mark Penceny, p. 2
  • Let the black man vote when he is fit to vote; prohibit the white man voting when he is unfit to vote.
    • Speech delivered to a segregated audience at Woodrow Wilson Park in Birmingham, Alabama on the occasion of the city's semicentennial, published in the Birmingham Post (27 October 1921) quoted in Political Power in Birmingham, 1871-1921 (1977) by Carl V. Harris (1977) University of Tennessee Press, ISBN 087049211X
  • I have no trouble with my enemies. I can take care of my enemies in a fight. But my friends, my goddamned friends, they're the ones who keep me walking the floor at nights!
    • Reported in William B. Whitman, The Quotable Politician (2003), p. 28. Alternately reported as "It's not my enemies I worry about. It's my friends", in Dorothy J. Samuels, "Women, Democrats Undercut", The New York Times (July 9, 1984), A-19.


  • I don't know much about Americanism, but it's a damn good word with which to carry an election.
  • I don't know what to do or where to turn in this taxation matter. Somewhere there must be a book that tells all about it, where I could go to straighten it out in my mind. But I don't know where the book is, and maybe I couldn't read it if I found it.
  • In the great fulfillment we must have a citizenship less concerned about what the government can do for it and more anxious about what it can do for the nation.
  • It is my conviction that the fundamental trouble with the people of the United States is that they have gotten too far away from Almighty God.
  • Only solitary men know the full joys of friendship. Others have their family; but to a solitary and an exile his friends are everything.
  • Our most dangerous tendency is to expect too much of government, and at the same time do for it too little.
  • The success of our popular government rests wholly upon the correct interpretation of the deliberate, intelligent, dependable popular will of America.
  • There is something inherently wrong, something out of accord with the ideals of representative democracy, when one portion of our citizenship turns its activities to private gain amid defensive war while another is fighting, sacrificing, or dying for national preservation.
  • I am not fit for this office and should never have been here.

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