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Calvin Coolidge: The "Say Nothing" President. Essay

1447 words - 6 pages

On August 2, 1923, Calvin Coolidge was vacationing at his father's home at Plymouth, Vermont when he was awakened by the tragic news of Warren Harding's death. Harding, had been on a public speaking tour of the West, when his health began to deteriorate, he tried to alleviate the scandal that have been plaguing his presidency. Praying by candlelight, Coolidge descended the stairs to the living room of his father's house, where he lit two lamps. Upon an old wooden business desk, a copy of the US Constitution was found and Coolidge took the oath of office, as his father administered him as the next president of the United States on the family Bible. In his six years as president of the United States, Calvin Coolidge was considered to be a heroic president not for what he did, but for what he did not do. Walter Lippmann, a White House Advisor for Coolidge in 1926 pointed out: "his talent for effectively doing nothing. This active inactivity suits the mood and certain needs of the country admirably. It suits all the business interests which wants to be let alone... and it suits all those who have become convinced that government in this country has become dangerously complicated and top heavy". It is no wonder, that Coolidge was known as the "do-nothing" president.The road to the presidency was not a hard road for Coolidge to come by. He was born on the 4th of July (ironically enough) in the summer of 1872 in Vermont. He was originally named John Calvin Coolidge but he later dropped the John. His parents were John and Victoria Coolidge. His father was a jack of all trades; he was a teacher, storekeeper, farmer, and even mechanic when necessary but he was later known to be an exceptional politician. His mother loved poetry and was very beautiful; unfortunately she died when Coolidge was only 12 years old. Coolidge was brought up in a very idealistic family. Instilled in Calvin at an early age were qualities of caution, dependability, fairness, honesty, industry, economy, tolerance, and modesty. Coolidge's beliefs were derived mostly from his mother and the simple democratic neighborhood of Plymouth Notch where he was raised. It was in his college years that the ideas of frugality and caution were reinforced when he attended college at Amherst College in Massachusetts. It is these beliefs, which guided him for the rest of his life both politically and socially.Coolidge was the first in his family to attend college. His years in Amherst gave Coolidge "an understanding of culture, strengthened his bent toward civic service and also persuaded him of the necessity of stability and harmony in the affairs of men." ("American Presidency"). He later graduated with honors and became a scholar with an interest in law. After graduating from Amherst in 1895, Coolidge became a lawyer in the offices of John Hammond and Henry Field at Northampton Massachusetts. Though he practiced plenty of law at Northampton, he never made a lot of money as an attorney, yet was...

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