Calvin Coolidge

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On August 2, 1923, Calvin Coolidge was vacationing at his father's home at Plymouth,Vermont when one night he was awakened by the tragic news of Warren Harding's death. Harding ,who had been on a public speaking tour of the West, when his health began to deteriorate, tried poorly to alleviate the scandal that have been plaguing his presidency. Praying by candlelight, Coolidge descended the stairs to the plain living room of his father's house, lighted only by two kerosene lamps. Upon an old wooden business desk, a copy of the US Constitution was found and Coolidge took the oath of office, as his father

administered him as the next president of the United States on the family Bible.

In his six years as president of the United States, Calvin Coolidge was considered to be a heroic president; not for what he did, but for what he did not do. Therein lies his political genius as Walter Lippmann, a White House advisor for Coolidge in 1926, pointed out: "... his talent for effectively doing nothing. This active inactivity suits the mood and certain needs of the country admirably. It suits all the business interests which wants to be let alone... And it suits all those who have become convinced that government in this country has become dangerously complicated and top heavy.." (Touchman 90).

It is no wonder, that Coolidge was known as the "do-nothing" president.

The road to the presidency was not a hard road for Coolidge to come by. He was born on the 4th of July in the summer of 1872 at Vermont. He was originally named John Calvin Coolidge but he later dropped the "John" (Askin 67-68). His parents were John and Victoria Coolidge. His father was a jack-of-all-trades, but was later known to be an exceptional politician. His mother loved poetry and was very beautiful, unfortunately she died when Coolidge was 12 yrs.old (Askin 79). Coolidge was brought up in a very idealistic family. His religious affiliation was vague, yet one can surmise that his family religion was Protestant since the majority of America was Protestant at that time. Also instilled in him at an early age were "attributes of caution, dependability, fairness, honesty, industry, thrift, tolerance, and unpretentiousness, and a belief in man's perfectibility." (Touchman 65). Coolidge's beliefs were derived mostly from his mother and from his homelife and the simple democratic neighborhood of Plymouth Notch. Only will it be in his college years will the

ideas of frugality and caution be reinforced when he attended college at Amherst College in Massachusetts. It is these beliefs which will guide him for the rest of his life both politically and socially.

Coolidge was the first in his family to attend college. His years in Amherst gave Coolidge "an understanding of culture, strengthened his bent toward civic service and also persuaded him of the necessity of stability and harmony in the affairs of men." ("American Presidency"). He later graduated with honors and became an scholar with an interest in law.

Graduating from Amherst in 1895, Coolidge became a lawyer in the offices of John Hammond and Henry Field at Northampton Massachusetts. Though he practiced much law at Northampton, he never prospered as an attorney, yet was still able to earn enough in his practice to eventually become financially independent in such a short time. ("American Presidency").

Coolidge's association with Hammond and Field led him into politics, his second profession. Politics came very easily to Coolidge because his father was a frequent officeholder in Vermont. Hammond and Field themselves were active political leaders and found the young Coolidge a willing political apprentice. During 1896 and 1897, Coolidge was active in the Republican Party and in 1898 he was rewarded with the nomination and election as city councilman ("American Presidency"). From then on until his retirement from the presidency he was seldom...
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