March 4, 2013
It takes a great man to be a good listener.
Nicknamed ‘Silent Cal” for his quiet and reserved personality, Calvin Coolidge (1872- 1933) took the road less traveled during his presidency when he decided to keep the government out of domestic affairs. Coolidge’s life before the presidency was dominated by his devotion to his political career. Pursuing a career as a lawyer, Coolidge graduated from Amherst College in 1895 and began practicing law in Massachusetts. He was elected into several offices before his presidency such as: the state legislature, the mayor of Northampton, Ma, the state senate, the governor of Ma, and in 1920 the Vice- president to Warren G. Harding. After the death of President Harding, Calvin Coolidge became the President of the United States on August 2, 1923.
President Coolidge served as President for seven years (1923-1929) due to President Warren G. Harding’s death in 1923 causing Vice-president Coolidge to finish Harding term. Successfully avoiding the scandals of Harding’s presidency such as the Teapot Dome oil lease scandals and other fraudulent actions of Harding, Coolidge won against Henry Ford for the Republican nomination in 1924. The Democrat candidate by compromise after the longest deadlock in U.S history was John W. Davis, a Wall Street lawyer. The revived Progressive Party nominated Senator Robert Lafollette, Jr. as their candidate. Coolidge won the election of 1924 with fifty-four percent of the election partially due to the popular Republican slogan “Keep Cool with Coolidge.” Davis won twenty-eight percent which left Lafollette with sixteen percent of the vote. Unfortunately Coolidge’s victory was short lived for his second son Calvin Coolidge died at the age of sixteen due to blood poisoning that year. The President stated in response, “I do not know why such a price was exacted for occupying the White House” (Leish 103).
Republican President Calvin Coolidge depended heavily on his Cabinet members throughout his presidency. Coolidge appointed Charles G. Dawes as his vice-president, who introduced the Dawes Plan, which helped finance German reparations and later won a Nobel Peace Prize for the plan in 1925. Frank B. Kellogg, Coolidge’s Secretary of State also won a Nobel Peace Prize for his Kellogg- Briand Pact. Although the pact was not successful in preventing wars, it did set the standard for international behavior concerning wars throughout the years. President Coolidge’s administration placed an emphasis on the nation’s private affairs, rather than constructing new public policies. President Coolidge and his Cabinet aimed to reduce the war debt and restore the government’s finances and the nation’s economical state.
Concerning domestic affairs, Coolidge took on the laissez-faire approach, deciding to leave most of the domestic issues to be resolved by each individual state. However conservative Coolidge planned to be concerning domestic affairs, he did play an active role in domestic legislation. His first act involved his effort to veto two bills that would give bonuses to veterans. President Coolidge, frugal and concerned for the economy, did not favor this bill, but with two thirds majority the bill was passed. His second act involving domestic affairs occurred in 1924 and 1926, when Coolidge passed the Revenue Acts which cut taxes to benefit consumers and investors. Taxes on the wealthy and income taxes were considerably reduced due to these acts. This tax reduction time period was commonly called the “Coolidge Prosperity”. The nation’s wages rose while unemployment declined; of course citizens adored Coolidge for this shift in the economy. However, due to over speculation and the unequal balance of income and consumer power which led to overproduction, the Revenue Acts caused more harm than good after his presidential term ended. The so called “Coolidge Prosperity” did not equally benefit the whole...
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