President Harding Dies Suddenly
Though he had been in poor health for some time, President Warren G. Harding’s death on August 2, 1923, was a shock to the nation, and spurred numerous unfounded rumors.
Many of the men Harding had appointed to various posts used their positions for personal gain. Though he wasn’t involved, these scandals, most famously the Teapot Dome scandal, became news in 1923.
Harding decided to take a tour to the West and Alaska to reconnect with the people and promote his agenda. Accompanied by his wife and trusted advisors, Harding’s train left Washington on June 20. After giving speeches throughout the Midwest, he and his party traveled to Alaska. Harding was the first President to visit there. He advocated opening the region to the oil industry and encouraged unemployed workers to settle in Alaska. On the way back to the lower 48 states, Harding toured British Columbia, the first sitting President to visit Canada.
As the trip continued, Harding became progressively weaker. The train traveled to San Francisco. On August 2, Harding died in a hotel suite of a cerebral hemorrhage.
His body was transported by train across the country. Millions of Americans lined the track all along the route to pay their respects.
When Harding’s wife, Florence, refused an autopsy, rumors swirled that she’d poisoned him to save him from the ensuing scandal charges, though no proof was ever found.
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