Calvin Coolidge

Calvin Coolidge, 1872–1933, 30th President of the United States (1923–29), b. Plymouth, Vt. John Calvin Coolidge was a graduate of Amherst College and was admitted to the bar in 1897. He practiced (1897–1919) law in Northampton, Mass., entered state politics as a Republican, and rose steadily in the party. He served (1910–11) as mayor of Northampton, was a member of the Massachusetts state senate from 1912 to 1915 (its president after 1914), and was (1916–19) lieutenant governor before serving (1919–21) as governor. Coolidge rose to national prominence when he used the militia to end the Boston police strike in 1919. In 1920 he was nominated as Republican candidate for the vice presidency and was elected with Warren G. Harding. After Harding died, Coolidge took (Aug. 3, 1923) the oath of office as President. Untouched by the scandals of the Harding administration, he was easily elected to a full term in 1924. His personal honesty and New England simplicity appealed to the American people, and his unquestioning faith in the conservative business values of laissez faire reflected the national mood. Coolidge's policies were aggressively pro-business. Through his appointees he transformed the Federal Trade Commission from an agency intended to regulate corporations into one dominated by big business. He twice vetoed (1927, 1928) the McNary-Haugen bill to aid agriculture and pocket-vetoed (1928) a bill for government operation of the Muscle Shoals hydroelectric plant. The presence in his cabinet of Herbert C. Hoover and Andrew W. Mellon added to the business tone of his administration, and Coolidge supported Mellon's program of tax cuts and economy in government. Through his public statements he encouraged the reckless stock market speculation of the late 1920s and left the nation unprepared for the economic collapse that followed. Coolidge chose not to seek renomination in 1928. After leaving office he retired to Northampton to write newspaper and magazine articles and his autobiography (1929, repr. 1989). As first lady, his wife, Grace A. Goodhue Coolidge, was much admired for her poise and charm. A selection of his press conferences was edited by H. H. Quint and R. H. Ferrell (1964).

See biographies by C. M. Fuess (1940), D. R. McCoy (1967, repr. 1988), J. Abels (1969), W. A. White (1938, repr. 1973), R. Sobel (1998), and A. Shlaes (2013).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

The Autobiography of Calvin Coolidge
Calvin Coolidge.
Cosmopolitan Book Corporation, 1929
President Coolidge
Edward Elwell Whiting.
Atlantic Monthly Press, 1923
The Talkative President: The Off-The-Record Press Conferences of Calvin Coolidge
Howard H. Quint; Robert H. Ferrell; Calvin Coolidge.
University of Massachusetts Press, 1964
A Puritan in Babylon: The Story of Calvin Coolidge
William Allen White.
The Macmillan Company, 1938
The Tormented President: Calvin Coolidge, Death, and Clinical Depression
Robert E. Gilbert.
Praeger, 2003
The Inaugural Addresses of Twentieth-Century American Presidents
Halford Ryan.
Praeger Publishers, 1993
Librarian’s tip: Chap. Six "President Calvin Coolidge's Inaugural Address, 1925"
The Third-Term Tradition: Its Rise and Collapse in American Politics
Charles W. Stein.
Columbia University Press, 1943
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 10 "I Do Not Choose to Run"
From Failing Hands: The Story of Presidential Succession
John D. Feerick.
Fordham University Press, 1965
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Calvin Coolidge begins on p. 181
The Mortal Presidency: Illness and Anguish in the White House
Robert E. Gilbert.
Basic Books, 1992
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 2 "The Trauma of Death: Calvin Coolidge"
Accidental Presidents: Death, Assassination, Resignation, and Democratic Succession
Abbott, Philip.
Presidential Studies Quarterly, Vol. 35, No. 4, December 2005
Populist Nationalism: Republican Insurgency and American Foreign Policy Making, 1918-1925
Karen A. J. Miller.
Greenwood Press, 1999
Librarian’s tip: "The Insurgency and the Nomination of Calvin Coolidge" begins on p. 166
Popular Images of American Presidents
William C. Spragens.
Greenwood Press, 1988
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 12 "Calvin Coolidge"
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