Coolidge, Calvin

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

Coolidge, Calvin

Born John Calvin Coolidge—after his father—on July 4, 1872, in Plymouth, Vermont, he shortened his name to Calvin Coolidge after leaving college. Coolidge became the thirtieth president of the United States upon the death of President warren g. harding. He was educated at Amherst College, where he received a bachelor of arts degree in 1895 and a doctor of laws degree in 1919. He also received doctor of laws degrees from several other institutions, including Wesleyan University and Tufts University.

"Perhaps one of the most important accomplishments of my administration has been minding my own business."
—Calvin Coolidge

In 1897, Coolidge was admitted to the bar and established his legal firm in Northampton, Massachusetts, where he practiced until 1919. He became councilman in Northampton in 1899, then city solicitor from 1900 to 1901, clerk of courts in 1904, and member of the General Court of Massachusetts from 1907 to 1908. In 1910, he was elected mayor of Northampton, a post that he held for one year.

Coolidge served in the Massachusetts Senate from 1912 to 1915, acting as president during 1914 and 1915. He was the lieutenant governor of the state from 1916 to 1918 and the following year became governor. As governor, he gained public recognition for his strong policy regarding the Boston police strike of 1919, regarding which he denied the right of any individual or group to strike if the public welfare is jeopardized.

With such extensive experience in state government, Coolidge was a natural choice for a federal position. In 1921, he was elected to the vice presidency of the United States. On August 2, 1923, President Warren G. Harding died suddenly and Coolidge became president. He was sworn in by his father, a Notary Public, on August 3, 1923, at 2:47 a.m. in his hometown of Plymouth, Vermont. In the next presidential election, held in 1924, Coolidge was elected, and so his administration lasted for five years.

As president, Coolidge adopted policies that favored business and discouraged government intervention in the economic system. He influenced the speculative activity of the Stock Market toward the end of the 1920s, which, some believe, precipitated the crash of 1929. When Coolidge left office in that year, the country was on the brink of economic disaster.

Coolidge spent his last years in retirement, writing articles. His Autobiography was published in 1929. He died January 5, 1933, in Northampton, Massachusetts.

Further readings

Gilbert, Robert E. 2003. The Tormented President: Calvin Coolidge and the Trauma of Death. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood.

Sobel, Robert. 2000. Coolidge: An American Enigma. Washington, D.C.: Regnery.


Harding, Warren Gamaliel; Hoover, Herbert Clark.