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Thirty-fourth American presidential election of 1920

1920 election map

Mrmariokartguy, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons


The 1920 election took place on Tuesday, November 2, 1920.


  • Republican party
  • Democratic party
  • Socialist party
  • Final tickets

    Republican party: Warren Harding for president & Calvin Coolidge for vice president

    Democratic party: James Cox for president & Franklin Roosevelt for vice president

    Socialist party: Eugene Debs for president & Seymour Stedman for vice president

    Campaining & major issues

    In 1916, the Democrats used the slogan 'He kept us out of war' to re-elect incumbent president Woodrow Wilson. Barely into his second term, though, the US joined the war, but the public actually supported the action. By 1918, the war was over. Wilson sought to create the League of Nations, which was essentially a predecessor to the United Nations. Wilson tried to rally for it at home, but Congress was not in favor of it. It also didn't help that Wilson suffered a major stroke that left him paralyzed in half his body. This caused Wilson's first lady, Edith, to do a lot of the presidential work while Wilson recovered. Opponents joked that she was the "first female president". Harding campaigned on a phrase of 'return to normalcy', which said that the United States should simply return to pre-war times. The slogan became popular, and parts of it was used during Joe Biden's 2020 presidential campaign, exactly 100 years later. Though the Socialists still probably couldn't win, Eugene Debs ran once again, but this time he was actually in jail, for violating the Espionage Act, which President Wilson signed, which basically banned all speech against the war effort (which has been recognized today as a clear violation of the 1st Amendment). Debs remains the only widespread presidential candidate to run from prison. Though a bit of a spoiler, I will say that the winner of this election would end up pardoning Debs out of jail in 1921. One notable thing about this election was that it was the first in which women could vote in. Some say that the election was impacted because of this, with some women possibly voting by the appearance of each candidate.

    Electoral college & turn-out

    The electoral college stayed the same at 531 electoral votes; 266 needed to win. 26,788,225 people voted in this election.


  • First place (winner): Warren Harding & Calvin Coolidge
  • Second place: James Cox & Franklin Roosevelt
  • Third place: Eugene Debs & Seymour Stedman
  • 2.12% of the popular vote went to other candidates.


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