A Puritan in Babylon: The Story of Calvin Coolidge

By William Allen White | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XII
And Tries On the Crystal Slipper

IN THE year 1915, Calvin Coolidge's name first appeared on a state-wide ballot in Massachusetts. In twenty years, be had come up the political stairs slowly but steadily. He was elected member of his precinct Republican committee in Northampton in 1896. In '98 he was elected from his ward to the city council. The next year and the following year be was twice elected city solicitor, widening his sphere a little; then was appointed clerk of the court, and in 1904 named as chairman of the Republican city committee. In 1905 he was defeated for the school board, in 1907 and 1908 be was elected member of the legislature, in 1910 and '11 elected and reelected mayor of Northampton. We see him broadening his reputation and how carefully he has kept it clean! In 1912, '13, '14, and '15, four times be was elected state senator, the last two times by courtesy that he might serve his first and second terms as president of the senate. Bur his electoral campaigns were confined during all of these years to Northampton and its environs. Generally be led his ticket in election. Frequently his majority increased at his second election. He was popular with the voters. When the women came to the ballot box be still retained his percentage lead over opponents. He became "the undefeatable." As president of the senate he had constitutionally much power. Also as luck would have it, during his years as president of the senate, be was the highest ranking Republican state officer in Massachusetts, where the State House was the habitat of Democrats largely as the result of the Theodore Roosevelt national bolt of 1912. Thus he came into state-wide fame. He was consistently conservative at heart. Politically, be was not narrow and rarely if ever vindictive. He helped Democrats and Progressives where helping them did not jeopardize the Republican party nor the vital interests of his conservative backers. He

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