Posted: Aug. 11, 2013
Calvin Coolidge, who served as president from 1923 to 1929, never rated highly in polls. The shy Vermonter, nicknamed "Silent Cal," has long been dismissed as quiet and passive. History has remembered the decade in which he served as a frivolous, extravagant period predating the Great Depression. Now Amity Shlaes, the author known for her riveting, unexpected portrait of the 1930s, provides a similarly fresh look at the 1920s and its elusive president. Shlaesshows that the mid-1920s was, in fact, a triumphant period that established our modern way of life: the nation electrified, Americans drove their first cars, and the federal deficit was replaced with a surplus. Coolidge is an eye-opening biography of the little-known president behind that era of remarkable growth and national optimism.
Although Coolidge was sometimes considered old-fashioned, he was the most modern of presidents, advancing not only the automobile trade but also aviation, through his spirited support of Charles Lindbergh. Coolidge's discipline and composure, Shlaes reveals, represented not weakness but strength. First as governor of Massachusetts then as president, Coolidge proved unafraid to take on the divisive issues of this crucial period: reining in public-sector unions, unrelentingly curtailing spending, and rejecting funding for new interest groups.
Perhaps more than any other president, Coolidge understood that doing less could yield more. He reduced the federal budget during his time in office even as the economy grew, wages rose, tax rates fell, and unemployment dropped. As a husband, father, and citizen, the thirtieth president made an equally firm commitment to moderation, shunning lavish parties and special presidential treatment; to him the presidency was not a bully pulpit but a place for humble service. Overcoming private tragedy while in office, including the death of a son, Coolidge showed the nation how to persevere by persevering himself. For a nation looking for a steady hand, he was a welcome pilot.
In this illuminating, magisterial biography, AmityShlaes finally captures the remarkable story of Calvin Coolidge and the decade of extraordinary prosperity that grew from his leadership.
|A really good book about the 30th President that nobody really talks about. A lot of information on his life before becoming Vice President. Then he took over when Harding passed away. But leading up to that point he was not from a well off family. He was from a family that worked there land and where education was important but you had to work for it. Work is what he did along with his father and grandfather. Once he graduated from Amherst college, he became a law clerk in a local law office an...moreA really good book about the 30th President that nobody really talks about. A lot of information on his life before becoming Vice President. Then he took over when Harding passed away. But leading up to that point he was not from a well off family. He was from a family that worked there land and where education was important but you had to work for it. Work is what he did along with his father and grandfather. Once he graduated from Amherst college, he became a law clerk in a local law office and study because he did not have the funds for law school. He became well known and then started running for local offices. Working his way to Governor of Mass. There he made a name for himself by not backing the Boston police when they went on strike having to call out local troops to patrol the streets. They were all fired after some time but he said they signed and gave an oath not to strike. From there it was Vice President. When Harding passed away one of the first things he did with his Sec of Tres. Was cut waste in the Federal Government and jobs. With the Fed Sec they worked on a plan to lower the tax rate accept for the top 2% they raised it. During the next 6 years they were able to lower the deficit and unemployment. This did not come with out a fight every year from Congress to spend this money on some new programs. He also fought them on not forgiving the debit that countries like France, Italy, Britain and others still owed from WW1. When he did not run what would have been his third term. Congress went crazy with spending and whit in a few years debt was forgiven without payment. Welcome depression. There's more to this story but you need to read it and see why Ronald Reagan thought Coolidge to be one of our better Presidents.|