I’ve always been intrigued by the 30th U.S. President Calvin Coolidge. Perhaps it was his humor & practical jokes, frugalness, and quotable utterances that draw me in.
Maybe it was his strong beliefs in Federalism and state’s rights, pro-businesses stance, reduction of income taxes, and other polices that make him appealing.
While I don’t agree with everything Calvin Coolidge did, he was an ethical & model president in a time of rapidly advancing technology and globalization (sound like today?). Perhaps “Silent Cal” has some lessons we can use.
Lessons from Calvin Coolidge
- Embrace diversity fight against hatred- He appointed 0 members of the then powerful KKK, pushed for anti-lynching laws, and elected Africans Americans and women to several positions.
- Embrace Technology- He used the new radio system and the media to spread his messages more than any other president before him.
- Shrink the role of the federal government- As a son of a Vermont farmer, he believed strongly in hard work and self sufficiency. Calvin Coolidge didn’t believe it was the federal’s government role to provide a multitude of services for the population (rather the state’s should take on this role). He reduced both taxes and the national debt during his terms.
- Don’t let power consume you- He left Washington, when he legally and likely (speculation) could have won another term.
Interesting Calvin Coolidge Facts:
- The only U.S. President to be sworn in twice. Once by his father and once by the Chief Justice.
- Was the first Presidential inaugural speech to be heard over the radio to a national audience.
- He used to press the buttons on his Presidential desk just to see his aids all run in at once. Read more humorous stories about Cal’s dry humor.
- Only President to be born on the 4th of July.
- The national debt was reduced by 1/4 during his Presidency, while also reducing taxes.
- Appointed the first woman, Genevieve R. Cline, to the Federal courts.
- He rarely smiled in public (photo gallery)
- He gave 529 press conferences, much more than any other president before him.
Silent Cal’s Famous Quotes:
“After all, the chief business of the American people is business.”…Of course the accumulation of wealth cannot be justified as the chief end of existence.” (link)
“I have found it advisable not to give too much heed to what people say when I am trying to accomplish something of consequence. Invariably they proclaim it can’t be done. I deem that the very best time to make the effort.”
“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated failures. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”
“I feel I no longer fit in with these times.” - Shortly before his death in 1933
“Industry, thrift and self-control are not sought because they create wealth, but because they create character.”
Calvin Coolidge has a great number of memorable quotes if you want to read them here.
Enjoy your President’s Day! What do you think of Calvin Coolidge?
Photo credits: Dougtone