Our 30th President: 1923-1929
Just the Facts:
- Calvin was born on July 4, our Independence Day.
- His full name is “John Calvin Coolidge.”
- He was a man of few words – a little shy and quiet. But he did like practical jokes.
- His nickname was “Silent Cal.”
- The Coolidge family had lots of pets – over 10 dogs (one was named “Peter Pan”), cats, birds, a pet raccoon, a donkey, and a bobcat named “Smokey.” He even had a bear, wallaby and lion cubs.
- He was president during the “Roaring Twenties.”
Calvin was born in a small town in Vermont. His father owned a store and he grew up learning the value of frugality and hard work. He went to Amherst College in Massachusetts and then studied law. Calvin opened his own law firm and then got involved in politics. He started in city politics and was mayor of his hometown. Then, he moved on to state politics – he was served in the state legislature and was elected governor of Massachusetts. His first experience at national politics was to be elected as Harding’s vice president.
Coolidge became President when Harding died unexpectedly on a train tour of the country – he took the oath of office on his family bible in the middle of the night at his father’s farm in Vermont. Coolidge ran for another term, and his slogan was “Keep Cool with Coolidge.” He was president in between the two World Wars and led America into the modern era.
Coolidge cleaned up the government after the corruption of Harding’s administration. In addition, Coolidge signed the Indian Citizenship Act, which granted American citizenship to all Native Americans. Coolidge believed in small government and didn’t want to regulate business. He cut taxes, reduced the war debt and cut government spending. In addition, he believed that the president should defer to Congress, which should hold most of the power in the federal government.
Calvin married Grace, who was a teacher for the deaf. They had two sons, John and Calvin, Jr. Calvin had a rocking chair on the porch of the White House and sat there almost every evening. In addition, he exercised on an electric horse in the White House.
Grace was a social First Lady – she loved parties and remembered the names of everyone she met. She was quoted as saying “People are my books.” She entertained many famous people at the White House, including Helen Keller.
Calvin Jr, died of an infection during Coolidge’s presidency. They was devastated and decided to not run for another term. He and Grace moved back to Massachusetts after his presidency was over and wrote an autobiography. He died of a heart attack when he was 61 years old.
“The chief business of America is business.”
“All growth depends upon activity. There is no development physically or intellectually without effort, and effort means work.”
“I have never been hurt by what I have not said.”
“It takes a great man to be a good listener.”
“There is no force so democratic as the force of an ideal.”
“Patriotism is easy to understand in America. It means looking out for yourself by looking out for your country.”