This & That

Story published: 05-14-2014 • Print ArticleE-mail Story to a Friend

Calvin Coolidge was the calm during the Roaring Twenties

By Jack Swift

One of the things I enjoy is looking back through United States history and seeking information about our presidents. Each of our past presidents had their own sets of values, characteristics and abilities. One U. S. president that seems to me to be often overlooked by historians is our 29th president, Calvin Coolidge,

A Republican. Nicknamed “Silent Cal,” he was known for not wasting words as well as frugality in other parts of his life. Coolidge, vice president to Warren G. Harding, ascended to the presidency upon the death of Harding on August 2, 1923.

After finishing Harding’s term, he won the presidency in his own right in the election of 1924. While there was no vice president for Coolidge when he finished Harding’s term, his vice president following his election was Charles G. Dawes.

As a part of his thriftiness, he never owned a car and until he became a private citizen he never owned a home. He once said that there are two ways to be self-respecting: “To spend less than you make or to make more than you spend.”

Coolidge was born on Independence Day, 1872, to John and Victoria Josephine Moor Coolidge of Plymouth Notch, Vermont. Later his sister Abigail was born. Coolidge’s ancestors came from England. They were hardworking farmers and storekeepers. The Coolidge’s’ ideals of honesty, thrift and hard work were passed down from generation to generation. President Coolidge retained those attributes.

Concerning his thriftiness with words, the story is told that someone bet a friend that he could make him say at least three words in a conversation. Upon relating that bet to Coolidge, All Coolidge said was, “You lose.”

He was the only president to be sworn in by his father. He was married to Grace Anna Goodhue Coolidge October 4, 1905. She was born January 3, 1879 in Burlington, Vermont. Their children were John born 1906 and Calvin born 1908. She was well liked by the folks, as she was warm, friendly and talkative. She also smiled a lot.

She kept busy in her position of First Lady but refused to talk politics or influence her husband decisions. Coolidge announced that he would not run in the subsequent election although he had a very good chance of winning.

Coolidge was president during the Roaring ‘20s. The ‘20s were the most colorful period in American history. During his administration the 19 Amendment giving women the right to vote was ratified. Charles A. Lindberg became the first man to fly nonstop across the Atlantic alone. He died of a heart attack January 5, 1933 at Northampton, Massachusetts. His wife died July 8, 1957. Both are buried in Plymouth, Vermont.