(JOHN) CALVIN COOLIDGE (American) (1872 – 1933).
The 30th President of the U.S. (1923-1929) whose conservative Republican policies of government inaction towards domestic and international problems came to symbolize the era between WWI and the Great Depression. His New England background stressed frugality, modesty and unpretentiousness, qualities that clung to him all his life. He served successively as a solicitor clerk of the courts, member of the Massachusetts legislature, mayor of Northampton State, senator and lieutenant-governor. In the process Coolidge entrenched himself with the state Republican Party and earned the respect of the voters. As a governor he had to call the state guards in September 1919 to quell two days of rioting and disorder resulting from a Boston police strike. When labour leaders called upon him to help enforce their demands for reinstatement of police who had struck, Coolidge refused with a typical succinct phrase:”There is no right to strike against the public safety by anybody, anywhere, anytime.” In 1920 he was nominated as the vice-president but the day after the death of Warren G. Harding he was elevated to the highest post. Cautiously and with skill he managed the divided party, a fractitious Congress and a National administration discredited by scandals. He brought about executive reformation, restored integrity at the seat of government and gained control of his party. Soon he became a fondly accepted symbol of calm practical leadership. ‘Keep cool with Coolidge’ was the slogan and in 1924 he easily won the election. The Coolidge era was distinguished by absence of crises, lack of spectacular political leadership and the expansion of apparent prosperity. His foreign policy was noted for its aloofness. Another feature of his policy was non-interference in the affairs of business and industry. However his complacent encouragement of the speculative boom in the stock market bode ill for the country’s economic future. The demands of office were so great that the presidential incumbent turned down the moves to renominate him in 1928 with the famous words:”I do not choose to run”. On retirement Coolidge wrote his autobiography (1929) and several articles expounding his philosophy.
One Sunday morning Mrs. Coolidge was indisposed so Calvin went to church alone. On his return Mrs. Coolidge asked her husband,” Calvin, what did the minister preach about?”
“Sin,” said ‘silent Cal.
“What did he say about sin?”, prodded his wife.
“He was against it.”
2. Coolidge who was noted for retiring at an early hour was present in the theater,one night to watch, the Marx brothers. Groucho at one point stared at the Presidential Box and said to the Chief Executive,”Isn’t it past your bedtime, Calvin?”