Compare And Contrast Abraham Lincoln And The Timely Death Of President Harding

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The essays, “Death of Abraham Lincoln” and “The Timely Death of President Harding”, critique society’s tendency to respect the dead and glorify the presidents’ former lives regardless of their characteristics while living. In February 1861, the people of New York greeted Abraham Lincoln with hostility because they judged him on his presidential platform, but after his death society respected him for his feats. Initially, Lincoln was not well respected by the United States and was scrutinized under the public eye unlike the beloved President Harding. In reality, Lincoln was a much more competent president than Harding during his short term and spread waves of improvement throughout the United States. Regardless of this, people expected Abraham…show more content…
In spite of this, Harding was honored like all influential and grandiose people who died, even Abraham Lincoln. Before his death, Harding had a presidency laced with scandal, corruption and incompetency. Harding’s knowledge about the world and his job was severely lacking and was appalling for someone epitomizing an iconic figure in the American culture. According to Samuel Hopkins Adams, author of “The Timely Death of President Harding”, Harding often complained openly about his lack of knowledge. Adams noted, “To any interviewer he said with disarming humility, “I don’t know anything about this European stuff…”. As for finances: “I can’t make a damn thing out of this tax problem”” (Adams 474). Harding was not beneficial to the United States and his scandals branded him as a man who was “war-weary impatient of problems too weighty for the mind in the street, cynically intolerant of a half-wrecked world’s troubles” (Adams 473). Clearly, Harding served very little purpose to the improvement of the United States and one would think his eventual death would be treated with the same apathy. But like all famous people that pass away, Harding was bid a farewell with compliments and statements that would equate him to the American hero. Harding was recognized after his death as “the idol of the man in the street, the apotheosis of the Average American, the exemplar of the triumphant commonplace” (Adams 469). In reality, Harding had a mistress, was friends with America’s greatest crooks, most of which landed in prison, and didn’t have the slightest idea about how to do his job. This suggests that it is a taboo in society to speak ill of the dead and people are willing to say anything to glorify the former life of the deceased whether or not it is

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