NO ACCOUNTING of Coolidge can avoid his most famous remark, ''The business of America is business." In classroom lectures at American universities, this saying usually offers a platform from which facile professors of American history denounce Coolidge and all his works. Only, so runs the inevitable peroration, a Vermont philosopher, down in the basement of the White House counting apples sent to him by an admirer, could have failed to recognize that business in the 1920's rested on an insecure foundation and that government control over the speculative orgy in the United States was imperative.
In fairness one must say that almost no one in the twenties, neither the President nor anyone else, understood the rickety nature of America's postwar business structure. Perhaps Coolidge was even less able to sense the stupidities of American financial organization than were many other men. The President did not have the slightest inclination for stock market speculation. He observed with approval the increase in installment buying, but believed erroneously that it helped poor people budget their money. He read the magazine articles of Professor William Z. Ripley and agreed that it was wrong for corporations to issue nonvoting stock. Unfortunately he coupled this perception with an archaic constitutional interpretation, namely, that only the states, since they issued the charters of incorporation, could regulate corporations. Coolidge admired the great business figures of the