Calvin Coolidge

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After all, the chief business of the American people is business. They are profoundly concerned with producing, buying, selling, investing and prospering in the world.
—Calvin Coolidge, speech to the American Society of Newspaper Editors, January 17, 1925.[1]

John Calvin Coolidge (1872–1933) was an American politician who served as the 30th President of the United States from 1923 to 1929. He was sworn in following the death of Warren G. Harding[2] before winning the Presidential Election in 1924.[3] He presided over the Roaring Twenties.[4]

He was a proponent of laissez-faire economics, as seen by both his massive tax cuts[5] and his cutting the federal budget "with the same determination that other presidents prosecute foreign wars" in the words of one online admirer.[6] As such, his reputation has surged recently among conservatives and libertarians, with Ronald Reagan being known for his admiration of Coolidge while he served in the White House.[7]


The most important event of Coolidge's Governorship of Massachusetts was the Boston Police Strike.

In 1919, some members of the Boston Police Department planned to join a union. The Police Commissioner, a man named Curtis, banned them from doing so. When they registered with the AFL, Curtis suspended them from duty. Due to this, the police went on strike. Coolidge tacitly supported Curtis, believing that policemen should not be able to unionize or strike, but deferred to the Mayor of Boston. The Mayor sent in the National Guard and fired Curtis. At this point, Coolidge intervened. He restored Curtis to his job, took personal control of the police force, and fired all the strikers. This put him into the national consciousness. The First Red Scare was going on at this time, and Coolidge was seen as a decisive leader defending law and order.[8]

Vice presidency[edit]

Nomination and Campaign[edit]

1920 Presidential Election

During the 1920 RNC, Warren G. Harding was nominated for President. The party bosses wanted Senator Irvine Lenroot for Vice President, but Coolidge was nominated instead by the rank-and-file.[9]

The Democrats nominated newspaperman and Governor of Ohio James M. CoxWikipedia for President, who displeased Wilson supporters for refusing to turn the election into a referendum on the League of Nations[10] (despite his own personal support for the matter, he never made it the massive issue Wilson wanted it to be)[11] and displeased everybody else through his similarities to Woodrow Wilson, with the general public much preferring Harding's "return to normalcy" message.[12] His running mate was one Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was little more than the Secretary of the Navy at the time. Harding and Coolidge absolutely trounced Cox and Roosevelt, winning 404 electoral votes to Cox's 127.

The VP didn't do much at this time, and he was no different. It was at this time that Coolidge developed a reputation as a quiet man. When asked why he attended dinner parties even though he didn't like to socialize, Coolidge replied, "Got to eat somewhere".[13]


When Harding died of a heart attack in 1923, Coolidge took over. He was staying at his father's house at the time, and his father,a justice of the peace, swore him in. During his term, the Teapot Dome scandalWikipedia broke, causing many people to think Coolidge would lose in 1924. However, due to Coolidge not doing much in the Harding administration, the scandals didn't rub off on him. He chose brigadier General Charles G. DawesWikipedia to be his running mate. After a chaotic convention,the Democrats nominated West Virginia congressman and Solicitor General John W. Davis.Wikipedia Davis was a conservative Democrat (although he was relativly progressive on the issue of race), causing the Progressives under Robert M. La FolletteWikipedia to walk out and form their own party. Due to this division and the good economy, Coolidge easily won reelection.

1924 election results.

He was infamous for his constant desire to stop the government from doing much of anything over actually attempting to use it to help people. "It is much more important to kill bad bills than to pass good ones," he wrote in a letter to his father.[14] He used fifty vetoes during his time as President, thirty of which were pocket vetoes,[15] the ninth most in American history.[16]

Good One, Cal[edit]

During his term, Coolidge created the Federal Radio Commission and granted citizenship to Native Americans.[17][18][note 1] Also, the economy was doing great, but this wasn't really his doing. He denounced the Klan and called for an anti-lynching bill, although it died in Congress (the Klan responded by spreading rumors that he was actually half black.)[21][22] He signed the Washington Naval TreatyWikipedia which limited the amount of warships nations could build and the Kellogg–Briand Pact, which attempted to outlaw war.[23][24]

Bad One, Cal[edit]

Coolidge was an early adopter of trickle-down economics, to the point where his Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon could even been seen as the father of the concept of the Laffer Curve,[25] which some historians think helped cause the Great Depression, an interpretation that has especially become popular since the release of The Great Crash, 1929 by John Kenneth Galbraith.[26] He also opposed farm subsidies, which hurt farmers.[27]

When the Great Mississippi FloodWikipedia hit, Coolidge did absolutely nothing because he didn't want to spend the money helping people would require.[28] He also signed the Immigration Act of 1924, which banned Asians from immigrating to America and set quotas on Eastern Europeans, for the express puropse of "[preserving] U.S. homogeneity".[29] He also continued U.S. imperialism in South and Central America[30] and was a supporter of eugenics.[31]


At a press conference on 2 August 1927, Coolidge handed the gathered reporters strips of paper which simply read "I do not choose to run for president in 1928."[32] He died several years later in 1933.[33] In the time between his retirement and death, Coolidge wrote a weekly newspaper column for about a year[34] and wrote an autobiography.[35]


  1. However, Native American opinion on this issue was divided between those who saw this as a way to secure political identity (while still not seeing American citizenship as an unambiguously "good" thing) and those who opposed the citizenship act as denying and eroding indigenous sovereignty and imposing citizenship on a people without their consent by a colonizing power.[19][20]


  1. Library of Congress
  3. 1924 Presidential Election
  4. Roaring Twenties
  5. Tax Policy, Coolidge Style
  7. Reagan's Muse
  8. Boston Police Strike
  9. Irvine L. Lenroot and the Republican Vice-Presidential Nomination of 1920
  10. James M Cox
  11. James M. Cox's Stance on the Issues Facing Democrats in 1920 Election
  12. Return to normalcy
  13. Robert Sobel (1998a), Coolidge: An American Enigma, Regnery Publishing. ISBN 978-0895264107 p.217
  14. Kill Bad Bills
  16. 9 U.S. Presidents with the Most Vetoes
  17. Radio Act of 1927 (1927)
  18. Calvin Coolidge and Native Americans
  19. THE CITIZENSHIP ACT OF 1924 – Onondaga Nation
  20. Bruyneel, K. (2004). Challenging American Boundaries: Indigenous People and the “Gift” of U.S. Citizenship. Studies in American Political Development, 18(1), 30-43. doi:10.1017/S0898588X04000021
  21. Coolidge and Civil Rights
  22. Has America Already Had a Black President?
  23. Washington Naval Treaty – Impact on U.S. Navy
  24. The Kellogg-Briand Pact, 1928
  25. The Laffer Curve
  26. The Great Crash, 1929 by John Kenneth Galbraith
  27. McNary-Haugen bill
  28. The Executive Branch’s Response to the Flood of 1927
  29. Milestones:The Immigration Act of 1924 (The Johnson-Reed Act)
  30. Military Interventions in the Coolidge Administration, Theodore J. Zeman, Wiley Online Library 1 August 2014
  31. The Forgotten History of Eugenics, Alan Stoskepf, Rethinking Schools
  32. Calvin Coolidge
  33. Calvin Coolidge dies at age 60, Jan. 5, 1933
  34. Calvin Coolidge Says
  35. The Autobiography of Calvin Coolidge by Calvin Coolidge