Phillip G. Payne is an associate professor of history at St. Bonaventure University in western New York, where he teaches courses in United States and public history. He worked for the Ohio Historical Society at the Warren G. Harding Home.
If George Washington and Abraham Lincoln are the saints in America’s civil religion, then the twenty-ninth president, Warren G. Harding, is our sinner. Prior to the Nixon administration, the Harding scandals were the most infamous of the twentieth century. Harding is consistently judged a failure, ranking dead last among his peers. By examining the public memory of Harding, Phillip G. Payne offers the first significant reinterpretation of his presidency in a generation.