The portrait used as the basis for this stamp design is taken from a medal furnished by the U.S. Mint.
Two years after Warren G. Harding graduated from Ohio Central College in 1882, he and two others purchased a newspaper in Marion, OH. The newspaper prospered and Harding entered politics. In 1898 he was elected to the Ohio senate, within three years rising to a leadership position. He was lieutenant governor in 1904-1905, but lost the gubernatorial election in 1910. In 1914 he was elected to the U.S. Senate, the first to be popularly elected following passage of 17th Amendment.
At the end of World War I he was a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and gained national attention as an opponent of the League of Nations. Although he ran for president in 1920, it primarily was as a favorite son from Ohio. A deadlock at the Republican convention promoted Harding as a compromise candidate. He won in the general election.
Harding appointed a strong cabinet: Charles Evans Hughes as secretary of state, Herbert Hoover as secretary of commerce, and Andrew Mellow as secretary of the treasury. He sought harmony on the most divisive domestic issue of the time, Prohibition. Harding supported the 18th Amendment, while refusing to encourage its active and effective enforcement.
Perhaps his presidency is best known for scandals associated with it. The most famous was the Teapot Dome affair, in which the secretary of the interior arranged for the private development of federally owned oil fields in exchange for a large bribe. The attorney general was implicated in graft and scandals erupted in the Veterans Bureau and the Office of the Alien Property Custodian. Harding was never implicated in the scandals. He died unexpectedly of a heart attack on August 2, 1923.