Black Excellence

29th Warren Harding 1921 -1923 Republican

  • This is when you start to see the beginning of the Republican Party as we know them today
  • He was pro-business
  • Had a conservative agenda, taxes were reduced
  • Harding watched his party receive two-fifths of the Southern vote in the 1920 election that led him to see opportunity for Republicans in the South
  •  He tried to play the middle ground saying that the social and racial differences for whites and blacks could not be bridged, but urged equal political rights for Blacks. Harding supported the Dyer Bill, which would have made lynching a federal crime
  • Harding famously said to a crowd of mostly whites in Alabama: “Whether you like it or not, our democracy is a lie unless you stand for that equality,” and: “These things lead one to hope that we shall find an adjustment of relations between the two races, in which both can enjoy full citizenship.” When the black crowd started cheering, Harding was quick to state that he was not advocating social equality between blacks and whites. The very word “equality” should be eliminated from the national debate, the President said. “I would say let the black man vote when he is fit to vote,” Harding added. “Prohibit the white man voting when he is unfit to vote.”
  • Harding did not advocate integration of the schools but argued for better schools for blacks
  • Willing to see literacy tests for voting continue if “fair” for whites and blacks
  • Asked Cabinet Officers to find places for blacks in their departments

Warren Harding in my eyes tried to play a middle ground maybe between his own views and a growing need for Southern whites to leave a changing Democratic party. He had some good moments but didn’t go fair enough to get a thumbs up. 

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