Joseph Mitchell Chapple.

Warren G. Harding--the man (Volume 2) online

. (page 3 of 4)
Online LibraryJoseph Mitchell ChappleWarren G. Harding--the man (Volume 2) → online text (page 3 of 4)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


problems of the business manager of the Star,
and the tide soon turned towards profits to help
pay off the debt and build a home.

The long-looked for day of the wedding ar-
rived, and in the new house, scarcely completed,
a simple ceremony which made the young edi-
tor, W T arren G. Harding, and Florence Kling
man and wife, was performed without the pres-
ence of the bride's father.

As the guests departed, they saw the young
bride and groom standing in the doorway, little
thinking that their future home might be in the
White House, at Washington.



THE MEASURE OF THE MAN



X



THE MEASURE OF THE MAN



THE real biography of Warren G. Harding
will be written day by day, in act and deed
under the pitiless spotlight of a Presiden-
tial campaign. Every word, every inflection, al-
most every inner thought, is X-rayed by the
earnest voter of the country seeking to get
the truth concerning the man whose name will
appear on over twenty million ballots — the
white messengers of authority — scattered over
the country like snowflakes on November 2,
1920, on which the voters of the United States
are to register with a simple mark of "X" or
O.K. with a lead pencil, the measure of the
man whom they choose to have as their Presi-
dent to safeguard the interest of home and
country while the mad tides of internationalism
are threatening our own and other shores.

How few people realize that in a Presidential
election the individual vote that is cast is the

(71)



72 Warren G. Harding — The Man

one direct contact that every citizen personally
has with choosing the man he desires to repre-
sent him as the chief executive of his country.
The electoral college has long since become a
mere matter of form, for the ballot is in itself a
contract definitely expressed, that the policies
of sound government, as indicated in the
speeches and acts of Warren G. Harding, shall
be carried out by and with the consent of the
people and their representatives in Congress and
the Judiciary, co-ordinating once more the
three fundamental branches of government, as
outlined in the Constitution. The virtue of
this contract depends on promises fulfilled,
and a violated pledge or breach of faith has never
been associated with the public or private life
of Warren G. Harding.

His sense of loyalty to party covenants has
been expressed in this following firm declaration :

"Through political parties we have the means of ex-
pressing our convictions and aspirations, and out of the
composite view of the thinking people of America we
write the covenant of party faith, which we translate
into party action."

Added to his other gifts is a rare sense of
humor, which, to the delight of his hearers,
crept into even the discussions of prosaic ques-
tions and made him a favorite speaker in all



The Measure of the Man 73

parts of the country. The story of a hat bought
in Paris, illustrative of how the tariff works,
may be cited from the traditionally dull pages
of the Congressional Record:

CARRIED THE HAT HIMSELF
"Now, what were facts? Bear in mind that I had
given $40 for this hat in Paris, and the tariff is a tax,
and the tariff is 60 per cent.

"Well, this hat was a very beautiful specimen. It was
a large one, and I, as the head of the family, became its
special bearer and custodian. I carried that particular
piece of millinery from Paris to Calais, and from Calais
to Dover, and from Dover to London, and from London
to Liverpool, and was bothered with it from one side of
the Atlantic to the other, and when we landed in New
York city, and a more or less vain woman put on her
Paris hat here to go out and show it to New York, and
we started down Fifth Avenue, we had not gone a block
until in a show window was the identical hat that I
purchased and carried from Paris.

"The tariff is a tax, and I gave up $40 in Paris for a hat
and found it in a window r in New York city advertised
at $24."



CHARACTER THE REALITY OF A MAN



XI



CHARACTER THE REALITY OF A MAN



EARLY in the campaign it was evident that
Senator Harding was a candidate who
would grow in favor the more he became
known. The general impression concerning him
in days following the nomination, among voters
in his own party, was far from being a correct
estimate of the man. As the days passed and
those who knew him began to speak, the people
began to understand. They looked again at
his pictures and understood that under those
dark shaggy eyebrows gleamed blue eyes as
kindly as any that ever reflected the soul of a
man. While in no sense self-opinionated, his
life work has indicated that he is not an easy
man for any clique or outside influence to con-
trol. He has none of the angles of self-esteem
that prevent him from getting on and working
with other men. The keynote of his first utter-
ances was an appeal for normal common sense.

(77)



78 Warren G. Harding — The Man

He began early to seek advice and counsel. His
election means a cabinet of strong, capable men
whose counsel and guidance with Warren G.
Harding's conception of executive functions
will result in directing the Ship of State safely
through the shoals of the coming years. The
personnel of virile men already called for coun-
sel includes men having some of the elements of
power that characterized the names now famed
through their association with the life and times
of Abraham Lincoln.

The businesslike and sensible way in which
he grappled the problems of a candidate, fore-
shadowed the sane poise of a president. He
went direct from Chicago to Washington, un-
affected by the demonstrations, to clear the
decks and prepare for the event at the home
town of Marion, where he delivered the notable
speech of acceptance from the threshold of his
own house. Here was initiated a porch campaign
that may become as memorable as that of
McKinley at Canton and Abraham Lincoln at
Springfield. Evidence accumulated day by day
as his speeches were delivered that here was a
man to lead the country in the re-adjustment
days of the nation.



THE LOG BOOK OF HIS LIFE




Residence of Warren G. Harding at Marion, Ohio



XII



THE LOG BOOK OF HIS LIFE



THE log book of Warren G. Harding's life
indicates that he has traveled far and
wide over this country, speaking from
California to Maine, and Canada to Texas,
addressing audiences in the large cities and
small towns. During these years he has been
able to analyze the aspirations of nearly every
community in the United States, from the
metropolis to the smallest hamlet. He speaks
the language of the Far West, knows the ambi-
tions of the Middle West, and is sympathetic
in his knowledge and understanding of the
problems of the East and South. He has met the
people and debated public questions in much
the same manner as Abraham Lincoln discussed
them. In his Chautauqua addresses he has
been able to make a cross-section survey of
what the people think on public matters.
On the stump he has grappled political prob-

(81)



82 Warren G. Harding — The Man

lenis with the virility of an effective cam-
paigner.

Having seen America first, Warren G. Hard-
ing is one hundred per cent. American. In his
study of the tariff and national questions, he
went abroad to get the facts, realizing that
observation should be co-ordinated with infor-
mation to insure an intelligent conception of
any subject.

One of the recommendations of Warren G.
Harding is that he has the brevity of a trained
editorial writer. He could not write or dictate
an ambiguous, comprehensive, hypothetical sen-
tence or paragraph if he tried. His thoughts
have the power of direct transmission, and are
not lost in a maze of rhetoric.

The generosity of his nature was indicated
when his father-in-law, who refused to attend
the wedding of his daughter, announced himself
as a candidate for public office. Everyone said :
"Of course, Harding will oppose him." Instead
he gave him the hearty endorsement of a loyal
worker in the ranks. They became fast friends
later, which continued until the death of Mr.
Kling. He never used his own paper to boost
his own political career.

Senator Harding's wife, Mrs. Florence Kling



The Log Booh of His Life 83

Harding, has truly exemplified the comradeship
and support of an American wife. Like Mrs.
Theodore Roosevelt, Mrs. Harding believes that
her husband belongs to the public, and in order
to help him in his work maintains that her duty
is first to the home. There's no glamor or
procession of public functions to interfere. Her
ambition is that of a helpmate and home-maker.
Maintaining the wholesome spirit and atmos-
phere of American home life, no matter what
eminence may come to her distinguished
husband, is the one life purpose of Florence
Kling Harding.



BY HIS GREETINGS YOU SHALL
KNOW HIM



XIII

BY HIS GREETINGS YOU SHALL
KNOW HIM

THE interchange of personal greetings
between the Republican and Democratic
candidates for President shows the broad
mindedness and good nature of Warren Harding,
and also the real calibre of the man.
Senator Harding says :

"I recall a much remarked cartoon which portrayed
you and me as newsboys contesting for the White House
delivery. It seems to have been prophetic. As an
Ohioan and a fellow-publisher, I congratulate you on
your notable victory."

Governor Cox's message to Harding:

"I accept your message as an evidence of the fraternal
impulse which has always characterized the craft to
which you and I belong. I heartily reciprocate the felici-
tous spirit which you have expressed."

In commenting upon Governor Cox's nomina-
tion, Senator Harding said:

"It is an added consideration shown to our great state
of Ohio, for which I am glad, and gives reasonable assur-

(87)



88 Warren G. Harding — The Man

ance that finally a newspaper man is to be made the
nation's chief executive. Ohio has accorded Governor
Cox very unusual distinction, and he deserved his notable
victory at San Francisco. His nomination will not
change our activities in any way in Ohio. It is a great
party contest before us, to be fought on great principles
involved, and neither place or residence nor personality
will have any marked influence on the result."

The following colloquial comment concerning
his political opponent further reveals his pro-
portions of greatness:

"I don't know what he thinks of me, but Cox is a
shrewd man, possessor of great political wisdom, and
has made a very able Governor of Ohio, whom the
people like and approve. He has done many things in
Ohio. Cox is smart. He understands politics. He
makes a very impressive speech. I have great respect
for his newspaper ability/'

As the legislative and public record of Warren
G. Harding is reviewed, or searched with X-ray
thoroughly by opponents, his staunch and stal-
wart qualities are further reflected. He is
frankly and avowedly a party man, believing
in the wisdom of the many. In the conduct of
public affairs in a Republic he insists that no
one man's wisdom is sufficient. As he said:

"The covenant of our party must be the deliberate
and harmonized convictions of representative Repub-
lican thought, digested in national councils."



By His Greetings You Shall Know Him 89

There is no doubt as to where he stands on
every question that confronts him, for he has
the happy faculty of expressing honest convic-
tion without a camouflage construction of double
meaning, blowing hot and cold. The biography
of Warren G. Harding in the Congressional
Directory, which is furnished by each individual
Senator, is counted the model of brevity and
modesty, and could scarcely have been con-
densed — even by one letter or a punctuation
mark:

"Senator Harding was born in Blooming Grove, Mor-
row County, Ohio, November 2, 1865; has been a news-
paper publisher since 1884; is married; was member
of the seventy-fifth and seventy-sixth Ohio General
Assemblies as Senator from the thirteenth district,
1899-1903, and Lieutenant-Governor of Ohio in 1904
and 1905; elected to the United States Senate November
3, 1914. His term of service will expire March 3, 1921. "

Even his political opponents recognize him,
not as an enemy, but as a man who is always
broad-minded and human in his outlook: "As
a man, he is good to look upon and to be trusted,
and there is in him an assuring indemnity if our
party loses."

In all the years of active public life he has
made few enemies, but these enemies have felt
the hard blow of righteous indignation which



90 Warren G. Harding — The Man

he delivers with a power of conviction, fighting
for a principle rather than from personal feeling
or passion.

His native Ohio loves him because it know
him first as a man. He has spoken many times
in all but one of the eighty-eight counties of
the state. The "home folks" believed years
ago that he was of the proportions of a states-
man, just as Lincoln's home folks believed him
before national renown came and despite a
rather colorless career as Congressman, which
in no way foreshadowed Lincoln's fame.

Senator Harding will never fill the role of a
solitary wise man, but fulfills the ideals of a
constitutional statesman. True to constitu-
tional form, he insists upon formulating his
political creed through his party and advisers —
even reaching beyond the boundaries of his own
party lines for advice and counsel, in order to
reach the true balance, which reflects the wis-
dom, sound sense, and clarity of judgment
recognized in the man.

In the character of Warren G. Harding I am
first impressed with his honesty and his consid-
erate heart; also his way of attending strictly
to his own business and duties. Meeting con-
ditions day by day in the light of the average



By His Greetings You Shall Know Him 91

notions of average people, understood and ap-
preciated by the average American, illustrates
again how he reaches sound conclusions on
great questions.



HARDING'S CLOSE RELATION TO
ROOSEVELT



XIV

HARDING'S CLOSE RELATION TO
ROOSEVELT

THE fact that Theodore Roosevelt in 1916
turned to Senator Harding to prepare an
amendment to the Selective Draft Law
indicated his faith in Warren G. Harding's
capacity to handle the most vital war matters
before Congress.

The legal and legislative ability that secured
the passage of the bill through both houses of
a Congress which was politically hostile, was an
early triumph for Senator Harding as a national
leader in the Senate. It remained for President
Wilson's veto to keep Theodore Roosevelt "out
of the war," with four sons as volunteers, and
France calling for his help. There was perfect
personal and political accord between Colonel
Roosevelt and Senator Harding, lasting until
the death of the intrepid leader, who aroused
the United States to the full consciousness of
its duty. The Colonel conferred with Senator

(95)



96 Warren G. Harding — The Man

Harding many times, and the firm friendship
remained unbroken until his untimely death.
Associates and the family of the peerless Roose-
velt regarded him as a friend to the core.
Roosevelt recognized that the Republican party
must be restored to power to save the country
from the wave of inefficiency and wanton waste-
fulness and the drift toward anarchy. This, he
felt, must be accomplished by unity and har-
mony, and he led the way, warmly appreciating
the services of Senator Harding.

In demanding at the height of the coal short-
age that the Interstate Commerce Commission
assign coal cars at the mines pro rata, without
favoritism, Senator Harding made a Roosevelt-
ian stroke. He recognized that with the miners
it was not altogether a matter of wages, but
steady employment. To break the custom of
working only a few days at high wages to be
consumed in idle days, owing to shortage of cars,
was the crux of the matter. The miner's welfare
depends on how many days he can work, and
calculate his year's income to meet the year's
living expenses, with all its fluctuations. This
prompt action of Senator Harding is recognized
as the first constructive legislation for the
miners passed in many years, and a forward





Office Bcildim. of the Marion "Star'




Editorial Desk at which Warren G. Harding Worked



Harding's Close Relation to Roosevelt 97

step of permanent advantage to consumer and
miner in eliminating waste.

Senator Harding voted and worked for the
National Suffrage Amendment, with an idea of
obtaining permanent results rather than a
spectacular crusade that would attract the
admiration of women. The basic rights for
woman suffrage he believed was settled in 1776.

With a courage unflinching, he has put him-
self in the background time and time again
when the interest of his party or country came
first. He has even faced the charge of reaction-
ary with a cool head, and has dared to defy the
charge of demagogue. Honesty, sound to the
core, is the inherent and supreme virtue of
Warren G. Harding. He has never been sym-
pathetic with class or race appeal, but his
record on the labor problems has been made
with a conception that labor is first of all
entitled to American rights. His votes on labor
issues indicate his clear-headed judgment on
securing positive and permanent benefits justly
and squarely as citizens and not as a class. His
own personal relations with labor tell the story
in deeds, and the appreciation of laboring men
and union men, who are closest to him, is only
a logical sequence. Capital, labor, or any



98 Warren G. Harding — The Man

clique cannot hope to brow-beat or swerve
Warren G. Harding from settled convictions
with an appeal to expediency. The question
comes back: "Is it right?"

With the prospect of seventeen million women
voting and ten million more who are not voting
in the South, the coming campaign will be an
interesting revelation as to the influence of the
women in naming a President of the United
States. The strong, stalwart Warren G. Hard-
ing, with a personal life as clean as a hound's
tooth, will prove as popular with men, as a
man's man, as with American women who insist
upon a manhood that will honor American
homes — his first concern in public service.

Harding's life has a passion for honesty
as the first attribute of every man entering
public service. This was shown in his reverent
tribute to Theodore Roosevelt:

"We can never hope properly to raise the public
standard until we elevate the individual standard. The
main thing is to get honest men. . . . There is no end
to the reformation honesty will work. It exalts men
and commands confidence. Colonel Roosevelt was a
fine example. The American worship of Colonel Roose-
velt is founded on the popular belief in his absolute
honesty."



THE RECORD OF A FOUR-SQUARE
LEADER



XV



THE RECORD OF A FOUR-SQUARE
LEADER

BORN on a farm, and a farm worker who
wore overall and jeans, as one who comes
directly from the soil, the farmers know
that honesty in Warren G. Harding is a natural
and necessary consequence of birth and breed-
ing. He has long been understood by farmers
of Ohio as one who has a genuine, sympathetic
appreciation of the problems of the farm. While
the farmers of the country may never all unite
on any one candidate, the one who possesses
the undoubted characteristic of the embattled
farmers at Lexington will not be overlooked in
their calculations. Warren G. Harding has the
qualities demanded in a public servant since the
earliest colonial days.

There's never been any doubt as to where
Warren Harding stands on the dry question.
A constitutional act with him is law. He has
not been affected by sodden dew and will do

( 101 )



102 Warren G. Harding — The Man

nothing to attract a wet vote by subterfuge.
He stands on this question as on others — four-
square to the winds. Not for any human
reward would he sacrifice convictions or stultify
conscience.

Suffrage in Ohio was thwarted for a time by
being confused in the mix-up of the wet and dry
fight. The voters will not be confused as to
where Warren G. Harding stands on any ques-
tion of law or principle.

Every word or phrase that he uttered in the
Senate of Ohio or the Senate of the United
States has been scanned and re-read with
searching interest. These utterances fore-
shadow the man.

The fact that all the opposing candidates in
the Republican Convention of 1920, including
the leaders, General Leonard Wood, Herbert
Hoover, Frank O. Lowden and Hiram Johnson,
have endorsed Warren Harding on the out-
standing issues of the 1920 campaign is proof
positive of his soundness as a Republican
leader. His sound Americanism is the answer to
the wild and insidious internationalism under
which bolshevism masquerades.

His record indicates that the problem of re-
organizing departments of the government to



The Record of a Four Square Leader 103

a peace basis, and eliminating wanton waste
is one that he has trained for in a lifelong
business experience. The government handles
its problems through departments. It is im-
portant that these departments cease to pyra-
mid expense and pile up useless burdens on the
people of this and coming generations. The
business genius of Warren G. Harding is one
that can be trusted to adjust the chaotic condi-
tions and make the government function for
efficiency. The largest corporations recruit
their efficient managers among executives who
have solved the problems of smaller units.
Warren Harding looms up now, called to under-
take this work in the same conscientious manner
that has characterized his previous career.
Determined to do away with imperialism and
executive autocracy, he will call his directors
and shape the sound policy of responsible party
government.

His public addresses prior to the nomination
are sufficient to forecast an inaugural address
that will meet the pressing issues of the times.
One of these addresses had the ringing note of
a challenge:

Break the shackles of wartime legislation for both
business and citizens. Cut out the extravagance of



104 Warren G. Harding — The Man

government and of individuals. Get back to the Con-
stitution and stand on it immovably. Those who com-
plain at the inefficiency of party government are really
criticizing the substitute they propose, because every
weakness of the present day is chargeable to the im-
paired party system. For such failure to meet the
people's expectations as our party must answer to to-
day, I answer an insufficient party sponsorship. To alter
our political system now, after the marvel of American
achievement, would be the abandonment of that which
made us what we are, and endangers the republic more
than the threat of destruction by force.



ANECDOTAL SIDELIGHTS AND
"CLOSE-UPS"



XVI

ANECDOTAL SIDELIGHTS AND
"CLOSE-UPS"

EARLY in the Presidential campaign anec-
dotes concerning Warren G. Harding came
thick and fast. Interest in the personality
of the candidate increased, as he became better
known to the people. His insistence that it
was not the candidate, but the party and its
councils that must prevail, did not encourage
anecdotal endorsement of himself. And yet,
these anecdotal bits day by day added to favor-
able impressions upon which his popularity
continued to gain.

On a New Year's afternoon, during a recess
of the Senate, he was found in the composing
room of the Marion Star, green shade over his
eyes, corncob pipe in his firm and well-set jaw.
He was "making up" the paper, and the way
he handled the printers' rule indicated the
craftsman. The shock of senatorial hair was
tousled and there was ink on his face, but he

(107)



108 Warren G. Harding — The Man

was working with a will to get the paper to
press. A caller shouted:

"You are a bird of a United States Senator!"
"I would be a bird of a United States Senator
if I didn't know how to do anything else."

This was the calm reply of Warren G. Hard-
ing, with a twinkle in his blue eyes, who insisted
that the first duty in life is to know how to do
things. He was puffing away and pushing the
work so that the paper could go to press and give
his boys a holiday. He worked with the same
will as when he and Mrs. Harding used to count
the pennies to meet the payroll and current
bills. The "form" which he had finished he
lifted. There were no "dutchmen" in that
form; that is, toothpicks to make it lift. It
was locked up firm, and in the very lock-up of
this type form was an index to the character of
Warren Harding. He has never forgotten how
to work with his hands and produce things.


1 3

Online LibraryJoseph Mitchell ChappleWarren G. Harding--the man (Volume 2) → online text (page 3 of 4)