Warren G. Harding - Historical Ranking As President

Historical Ranking As President

Harding traditionally has been ranked as one of the worst presidents. In a 1948 poll conducted by Harvard University historian Arthur M. Schlesinger, Sr., the first notable survey of scholars' opinions of the presidents, Harding ranked last among the 29 presidents considered. In a 1962 poll conducted by Schlesinger, he was ranked last again, 31 out of 31. His son, Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., conducted another poll in 1996; once again, Harding was last, ranked 39 out of 39. In 2010, a Siena College Research Institute survey of 238 presidential scholars ranked Harding 41st among the 43 men who had been president, between Franklin Pierce (40th) and James Buchanan (42nd); Andrew Johnson was adjudged the worst. Harding was also considered the third worst president in a 2002 Siena poll. Siena polls of 1982, 1990 and 1992 ranked him last.

However, Harding's biographer John W. Dean in 2004 believed that President Harding was underrated. Authors Marcus Raskin and Robert Spero, in 2007, also believed that President Harding was underrated and admired Harding's quest for world peace after WWI and his successful naval disarmament among strongly armed nations, including France, Britain, and Japan. In his 2010 book The Leaders We Deserved (and a Few We Didn't): Rethinking the Presidential Rating Game, presidential historian Alvin S. Felzenberg, ranking presidents on several different criteria, ranked Harding 26th out of 40 presidents considered.

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