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Bad Presidents pp 147-162 | Cite as

The Minimalist: Calvin Coolidge

  • Philip Abbott
Part of the The Evolving American Presidency Series book series (EAP)

Abstract

Harding has been deemed a bad president because his incompetence led to personal and financial scandal. Coolidge shares the same category for doing nothing. There were no scandals in his administration. Coolidge was never seen to be under the influence of either politicos or policy experts. He had a reputation for talking little—and doing little. Two often-repeated narratives, naturally very brief, seem to summarize the president. One is the president’s one-line statement in 1927, “I do not choose to run for president in 1928” and Dorothy Parker’s response to Coolidge’s death, “How can they tell?” If the “Coolidge prosperity” was indeed a mirage as Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) alleged, the man who was president from 1923 to 1929 seems to be himself an illusion.

Keywords

Republican Party Minimalist Strategy Financial Scandal Exclusion Clause Kerosene Lamp 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Walter Lippman, Men of Destiny (1927) (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 2003), p. 11.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Michael P. Riccards, The Ferocious Engine of Democracy (New York: Madison Books, 1995), vol. II, p. 102.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    Robert H. Ferrell, The Presidency of Calvin Coolidge (Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 1998), p. 18.Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    Calvin Coolidge, Have Faith in Massachusetts (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1919), p. 80.Google Scholar
  5. 7.
    Robert Sobel, Calvin Coolidge: An American Engima (Washington, DC: Regnery, 1998), p. 133. Coolidge’s biographers offer differing assessments of the future president’s role in the strike. Claude M. Fuess offers a sympathetic account in Calvin Coolidge: The Man from Vermont (Boston: Little Brown, 1940) while Donald McCoy is more critical. McCoy concludes, “He who had been the last in acting had become the first in receiving credit.” Calvin Coolidge: The Quiet President (New York: Macmillan, 1967), p. 94. Thomas B. Silver vigorously defends Coolidge and compares his action to Lincoln’s during the Fort Sumter crisis. Coolidge and the Historians (Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press, 1982), p. 57.Google Scholar
  6. 8.
    Calvin Coolidge, The Autobiography of Calvin Coolidge (New York: Cosmopolitan Book Corporation, 1931), p. 147.Google Scholar
  7. 13.
    Thomas Stokes, Chip Off My Shoulder (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1940), p. 139.Google Scholar
  8. 14.
    For a descriptions of Coolidge’s press conferences, see, Jule Abels, In the Time of Silent Cal (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1969), pp. 45–46;Google Scholar
  9. Arthur F. Finer, A Rhetorical Study of the Speaking of Calvin Coolidge (Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 1990), pp. 91–100.Google Scholar
  10. 15.
    John L. Blair, “Coolidge the Image Maker: The President and the Press, 1923–1929,” New England Quarterly 43 (December 1973): 504.Google Scholar
  11. 17.
    James E. Watson, As I Knew Them (Indianapolis, IN: Bobbs-Merrill, 1936), p. 239.Google Scholar
  12. 18.
    Elmer E. Cornwell, Jr., “Coolidge and Presidential Leadership,” Public Opinion Quarterly 21 (Summer 1957): 267.Google Scholar
  13. 20.
    Daniel J. Lear, “Coolidge, Hays, and 1920s Movies: Some Aspects of Image and Reality,” in John Earl Haynes, ed., Calvin Coolidge and the Coolidge Era (Washington, DC: Library of Congress, 1998), p. 101.Google Scholar
  14. 23.
    See, Robert E. Gilbert, The Tormented President (Westport, CT: Praeger Press, 2003).Google Scholar
  15. 26.
    See, David J. Goldberg, Discontented America: The United Sates in the 1920s (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999).Google Scholar
  16. 27.
    W. B. Riley, “The Faith of the Fundamentalists,” Current History 26 (June 1927): 438.Google Scholar
  17. 30.
    Walter Lippman, Men of Destiny (1927) (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 2003), pp. 11, 16–17.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Philip Abbott 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Philip Abbott

There are no affiliations available

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