Giving Voice to Not-So-Silent Cal

By Smith, Kenneth | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), October 31, 1998 | Go to article overview

Giving Voice to Not-So-Silent Cal


Smith, Kenneth, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


Silent Cal wasn't really so silent. As the nation's 30th president, Calvin Coolidge gave 520 press conferences from his unexpected arrival in office in 1923 to his departure in 1929. He gave more speeches than any of his predecessors. The first president of the radio age, he gave 16 radio addresses and, in a 1927 poll, ranked ahead of Will Rodgers as a radio personality.

He also spoke forthrightly, if tersely, about politically charged issues - such as race - that other politicians sidestepped. "Numbered among our population are some 12 million colored people," he said. "Under our Constitution their rights are just as sacred as those of any other citizen. It is both a public and private duty to protect those rights."

In his biography, "Coolidge: An American Enigma," Robert Sobel gives voice to not-so-Silent Cal, correcting 30 years of conventional wisdom that Coolidge more or less napped his way through the presidency, waking long enough to do business a favor and then nodding off again. Mr. Sobel sets out to reintroduce Coolidge to the American public, quoting at length from the president's own speeches and writings, from media commentary of the time and from the remarks of his own family and friends.

The book offers little in the way of original research, as Mr. Sobel himself acknowledges. But such research isn't necessary to make his point; there is more than enough evidence on the record to suggest that history has distorted Coolidge's record beyond recognition. That's unfortunate because Calvin Coolidge has much to offer this country even now in the way of legislative models and, well, character.

He made it his administration's work to reduce the size of government, but he took care to maintain public trust in what remained. When controversy erupted over allegations that the secretary of the interior had secretly leased Navy oil reserves at Elk Hill and Teapot Dome in exchange for payoffs and bribes, Mr. Coolidge promised to prosecute any crimes and moved quickly to appoint special counsels from both sides of the political aisle to investigate. Eventually, several Cabinet holdovers from the Harding administration were forced out. The New York Times praised Coolidge's "rugged integrity" in restoring public confidence in the wake of the scandals.

That integrity carried over to the smallest matters. He refused to keep a telephone on his office desk because, he said, it wasn't in keeping with the dignity of the office. The thought of Coolidge philandering, lying or maintaining enemies lists would have been incomprehensible even to his critics. A reporter noted in 1920 that, regardless of whether one agrees with what he did, "you know he's done his best to do right."

The character he displayed in office was born of sturdy Vermont stock whose strengths he called on in times of both sorrow and joy. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Giving Voice to Not-So-Silent Cal
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.