United States presidential election, 1920

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Contents

The Contenders

Senator Warren G. Harding of Ohio, Republican

Governor James M. Cox of Ohio, Democrat

The Issues

America's role in the post-WWI world; A 'return to normalcy'.

The Result

Woodrow Wilson, the outgoing Democratic incumbent, led the fight to have the US ratify the Treaty of Versailles and give the League of Nations some much-needed legitimacy. But some Senators, led by Henry Cabot Lodge of Massachusetts and William E. Borah of Idaho, joined up to block the initiative. Wilson suffered a crippling heart-stroke in 1919, and was having still more trouble convincing the American public and the Senate that the US should become more involved internationally. In helping to draft the post-war agreements, Wilson had spent some six months out of the country, and the public saw this as putting the world first and the US second.

Wilson did not run for a third term, and so the Democrats nominated Ohio Gov. James Cox, with Assistant Secretary Franklin Roosevelt of New York as his running mate. The Republicans picked Ohio Sen. Warren Harding and Mass. Gov. Calvin Coolidge. Offered a choice between internationalism and a 'return to normalcy', the American people picked Harding overwhelmingly. This election also marks the first time since Reconstruction that a member state of the Old Confederacy voted Republican (Tennessee).

See also

v·e·d

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