Return to normalcy

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Harding called for "a return to normalcy."

Return to normalcy, a return to the way of life before World War I, was United States presidential candidate Warren G. Harding's campaign promise in the election of 1920. Although detractors believed that the word was a neologism as well as a malapropism coined by Harding (as opposed to the more accepted term normality), there was contemporary discussion and evidence found that normalcy had been listed in dictionaries as far back as 1857. [1][2] Harding's promise was to return the United States to pre-world war mentality; without the thought of war tainting the minds of the American people. To sum up his points, he states, "America's present need is not heroics, but healing; not nostrums, but normalcy; not revolution, but restoration; not agitation, but adjustment; not surgery, but serenity; not the dramatic, but the dispassionate; not experiment, but equipoise; not submergence in internationality, but sustainment in triumphant nationality".[3]

1920 Election[edit]

This topic ended up being important during the United States presidential election, 1920 which resulted in Harding winning the presidency with 60.3% of the popular vote.[4] During the campaign, Harding addressed the issue of the word's origin, claiming that "normalcy", but not "normality", appeared in his dictionary:

I have noticed that word caused considerable news editors to change it to "normality". I have looked for "normality" in my dictionary and I do not find it there. "Normalcy", however, I did find, and it is a good word.[5]

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