Why is this Historic Site Important?
This historic site in Marion Ohio is the home of Warren and Florence Harding. Harding was born November 2, 1865, in Corsica, Ohio and spent most of his youth in Caledonia, Ohio. In 1882, he and a friend purchased the Marion Star, a newspaper in Marion, Ohio. Harding won election to the Ohio legislature in 1898 and 1900. In 1903, he became Ohio’s lieutenant governor. Within two years, Harding returned to the Marion Star, but political life for the Hardings was about to step onto a national stage.
Harding became the 29th president of the U.S, (1921–1923) and the first president elected after women were allowed to vote in national elections.
Harding died in office and it is unknown if his legacy would have been more favorable had he had an opportunity to complete his term as president. Most people are unaware that Harding creating the authorization for the first formal budgeting process and for the General Accounting Office to oversee the spending of the government. In addition, Harding established the Veteran’s Bureau which was later transformed into the Veteran’s Administration.
The Harding Home and Front Porch Campaigns:
When Warren G. Harding stepped out onto the steps of his home in Marion, Ohio to begin his “front porch” campaign, did he know he was launching the first “modern” presidential campaign?
Harding’s campaign was the first to receive widespread news coverage and the first to use Hollywood and Broadway stars. Stars like Al Jolson (a.k.a. "The world’s greatest entertainer") and business icons like Henry Ford came to the front steps of the Harding Home for photo opportunities with Harding and his wife.
In addition to 1920s celebrities, over 600,000 people visited the Harding Home during the presidential election of 1920. Following Harding’s election, “front porch campaigns” became a technique to speak to a large crowd while maintaining that “neighborly” man-of-the-people effect that politicians seek even today.