The Presidency of Calvin Coolidge

Calvin Coolidge was born in Vermont on the 4th of July in 1872, and was the 30th president of the United States. His parents had taken root in New England, after his grandfather moved to the U.S. from England and resided in the state of Massachusetts. Coolidge went to the well-known Amherst College and soon got a job with a small law firm. His father encouraged him to move on to full time law school, but he declined stating it would be too costly. He married a schoolteacher named Grace in 1905 and although they had two very different personalities, he was very happy with her by his side.

In 1906, Calvin Coolidge was elected to serve in the House of Representatives. Many considered him to be a progressive republican because of his voting style. After serving his second term, he went on to become the mayor of Northampton. He served as mayor until 1912, when he was encouraged to run for senate. In 1914, he wrote a speech entitled Have Faith in Massachusetts, which was later published as a book. The speech was well received by his constituents, and helped him along in his political career.

In 1918, Coolidge ran unopposed for the position of governor of the state of Massachusetts. This nomination was immediately following his position as lieutenant governor of the same state. He believed in being fiscally conservative like many republicans, and also supported the American involvement in World War I. In 1919, there was a large police strike in Boston which causes several days and nights of looting and riots. Coolidge called in the National Guard to help calm the situation down.

Senator Warren G. Harding was elected president in 1920, and Calvin Coolidge was chosen as his vice president. When he ran, he was the 6th candidate, and many people felt as if he were not a serious contender. He proved them wrong, however, when he was chosen by Harding to be his running mate. He was the first vice president to attend cabinet meetings. People called him “Silent Cal” because he and his wife Grace often remained in the background at parties and at meetings. It was said that he did not care for the social jungles of Washington, D.C. He did, however, hold a record number of press conferences, at least for that time, with a total of 520.

President Harding passed away on August 2, 1923. He was speaking in California, and Coolidge was in Vermont with no telephone or electricity. Once he was alerted to Harding’s passing, he enlisted the help of his father who was a notary public, and he took the oath of office in the living room by kerosene lamplight. The next day, he was officially sworn into office by Justice Adolph Hoehling, Jr. of the Supreme Court. The country was not quite sure what to think of Coolidge initially. In 1923 he addressed congress and spoke about immigration restriction and background checks for people entering the U.S. from other nations, among other topics. He signed the Revenue Act of 1926, which lowered income tax and raised the estate tax. It also created the gift tax.

In 1924 the Republican Convention was held in Cleveland, Ohio and Coolidge was the first name on the ballot. He was up for re-election, so it was an important political move. Sadly, while he was campaigning, Coolidge’s son Calvin, Jr. died of an infection from a blister he received while playing tennis. The death of his son really affected Coolidge, but he did his best to run the country and stood fast to his strong belief in a capitalist society. He opposed things like child labor, and approved things such as safety regulations in factories. He was a believer in very low taxes which many people liked, particularly the working class.

As for foreign policy, Calvin Coolidge did not want to enter into too many alliances with other nations. While some labeled him an isolationist, he did not feel it was the United States’ job to get intertwined in other countries’ affairs. In 1928, Calvin Coolidge opted not to run for re-election. He was the first president of the United States to have an audio and visual recording of himself which was recorded in 1924. He was also the only president to have his face on a coin during his lifetime, which was the half dollar of 1926. Calvin Coolidge died of a heart attack in 1933, but thousands of people come to visit his grave in Vermont every year to pay tribute to this great American president.