Since America’s 30th President (1923-1929), Calvin Coolidge revealed his decision to carry on the old moral and financial precepts of frugality amid the material prosperity that many Americans were appreciating throughout the 1920s era.
From the light of a kerosene lamp, his father, who was a notary public, administered the oath of office since Coolidge put his hands on the family Bible.
“His great task was to restore the prestige and dignity of the Presidency as it had reached the lowest ebb in our history… at a time of extravagance and waste….”
He was graduated from Amherst College with honors, and entered politics and law at Northampton, Massachusetts. Slowly, methodically, he travelled up the political ladder out of councilman from Northampton to Governor of Massachusetts, as a Republican. En route he became completely conservative.
Since President, Coolidge revealed his decision to carry on the old moral and financial precepts amid the material prosperity that many Americans were appreciating. He refused to utilize Federal financial ability to examine the rising boom or to ameliorate the depressed state of agriculture and certain businesses. His first message to Congress in December 1923 known for isolation in foreign policy, and for tax cuts, market, and limited aid to farmers.
He quickly became popular. In 1924, as the beneficiary of what was now known as”Coolidge prosperity,” he polled over 54% of the vote.
In his Inaugural he claimed that the nation had achieved”a state of contentment seldom before seen,” and vowed to keep the status quo. Recently he twice vetoed farm relief bills, and murdered a strategy to generate cheap Federal electrical power on the Tennessee River.
The political genius of President Coolidge, Walter Lippmann pointed out in 1926, was his knack for doing nothing:”This busy inactivity matches the disposition and certain of their requirements of the nation admirably. It satisfies all of the business interests that want to be let alone…. And it satisfies all those who’ve become convinced that authorities in this nation has gotten dangerously complex and top-heavy….”
Coolidge was the most damaging and distant of Presidents, and also the most accessible. He explained to Bernard Baruch he frequently sat quietly through interviews:”Well, Baruch, several times I say just’yes’ or’no’ to individuals. Even that’s too much. It winds up them for twenty minutes longer.”
However, no President has been kinder in allowing himself to be photographed in Indian war bonnets or cowboy apparel, also in greeting many different delegations into the White House.
His dry Yankee wit and his frugality with words became mythical. In 1928, while vacationing in the Black Hills of South Dakota, he murdered the most well-known of his laconic statements,”I don’t decide to run for President in 1928.”
From the time the catastrophe of the Great Depression struck the nation, Coolidge was in retirement. Before his departure in January 1933, he confided to an old friend,”… I believe that I no longer fit in with these days.”