Calvin Coolidge
external image 7779-004-79044FDF.jpg Political Party- Republican

· Years in office- 1923-1929

· Brief historical background - Born in Plymouth, Vermont on July 4, 1872. Son of John Calvin Coolidge and Victoria Josephine Coolidge. Graduated from Amherst College and entered law. He and wife Grace had two boys (John and Calvin). His nickname was "Silent Cal". Full name: John Calvin Coolidge Jr.

o Path to president - Started political career as councilman in Northampton, Mass. Became mayor of Northampton 10 years later. Governor of Massachusetts from 1919 to 1920. Served as Vice President under Warren G. Harding from 1921 to 1923. Took over office of presidency in August 1923 after death of President Harding. Elected President in 1924 with Charles G. Dawes as his Vice President.

o Highlights/Lowlights of career -The "Roaring Twenties", aided by Coolidge's laissez-faire, conservative government gained him much popularity. His stance against the Bonus bill and farm relief bills hurt his popularity. Latin American countries, embittered by the U.S. imperialistic policies, neared an anti-United States resolution.

Two domestic policy issues- Revenue Acts of 1924 and 1926: freed up private funds which, historians say fueled speculation and helped lead to the stock market crash in 1929; basically he reduced income and inheritance taxes. Immigration Act of 1924: reduced number of southern and eastern Europeans into the country as well as excluding Japanese immigrants, which he regretted.
Two foreign policy issues
- Continued America's imperialistic influence in Latin America, dominating Venezuelan oil production, controlling the Panama Canal, and employing peace-keeping forces in the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Nicaragua. Kellogg-Briand Pact 1928: renounced war as a means of settling international differences, which didn't stop Germany and Japan but became the founding principle of international law after the WWII.

Presidential Report Card

·Character: A He restored dignity and prestige to the presidency after the Harding administration. Although he was a man of few words and a dry wit, he embodied the spirit of the middle class.

Morals: A- He supported the general public throughout his political career with factory safety measures and his stance against child labor. He also advocated against lynching; the KKK lost much influence during his term.

Economics: F His taxation policy led to the speculation that was a major part of the stock market crash. His strong stance against farmer relief dramatically depleted the agricultural economy.

Effectiveness: A- His views were not well challenged as only 4 of his 50 vetoes were overridden. He was able to maintain the status quo which he strived for and his policies were carried out.

Political Skill: B He had great influence in Congress, as most of his policies were carried out. He even traveled to Cuba to try to ease the tensions of the Latin American regime against the U.S.

Vision: D His staunch conservative policies helped him achieve the inactivity of government which he felt was in need. Clearly, some of his conservative stances helped lead the nation into tough times.

Leadership: A He was a well-liked and admirable president during his time in office. He was a highly visible and informative president, as he held over 500 press conferences during his presidency.

OVERALL: C- Although a respectable and popular leader, many of his conservative stances and economic policies created an economic collapse.

Interesting side notes and stories:
Coolidge had a somber nature, contributed by the early deaths of his mother and sister. His youngest son Calvin died of a blister infection incurred while playing tennis on the White House courts. After Calvin Jr.'s death, Coolidge battled with depression. His motto as president was simply "let well enough alone". The infamous story attributing to Coolidge's persona occurred at a White House dinner. The woman sitting next to him told him that she had made a bet that she could get more than two words out of him during the night. Coolidge simply responded "You lose". Coolidge did not run for re-election in 1928, he simply without any further explanation said "I do not choose to run for President in 1928". Coolidge wasn't exactly joyful about Hoover being his successor, as he once said "for six years that man has given me unsolicited advice-all of it bad". However, a testament to his nature, he supported Hoover with various radio addresses and in his newspaper column "Calvin Coolidge Says". Shortly before his death in 1933 he confided to a friend: "I feel I am no longer fit in these times".