Calvin Coolidge never really had his sights set on the White House, but his good nature, his honesty, and his views on limited government made him very popular as he went from a city councilman, to the President of the Senate in Massachusetts, to governor of Massachusetts. In the election of 1920, there was much talk of getting Coolidge nominated as the Republican candidate, but he was openly against the nomination, and instead was nominated as the Vice President, running with William Harding, who won the election against James Cox.
In 1923, Harding died of a heart attack, and Calvin Coolidge was sworn in as President of the United States, that same night, by his father who was a notary.
The 1924 election saw Calvin Coolidge as the victor over Democrat candidate John Davis. Some historians call Coolidge the forgotten president, some refer to him as "Silent Cal", but my studies of him prove him to be anything but forgetful and silent. While he was not one to draw attention to himself, he was a man of unshakable standards and beliefs.
I feel like the best way to get to know him is through his own words. His words left me wishing that leaders today held his same convictions, for those are exactly what this country needs at this time.
Immediately on hearing that President Harding had passed away:
"Before leaving the room I knelt down and, with the same prayer with which I have since approached the altar of the church, asked God to bless the American people and give me power to serve them."
On living within his means and not being extravagant:
"It was my desire to maintain about the White House as far as possible an attitude of simplicity and not engage in anything that had an air of pretentious display. That was my conception of the great office. It carries sufficient power within itself... It has a dignity of its own which makes it self-sufficient... there is no need of theatrics."
"My fundamental idea of both private and public business came first from my father... He was a generous and charitable man, but he regarded waste as a moral wrong. Wealth comes from industry and from the hard experience of human toil. To dissipate it in waste and extravagance is disloyalty to humanity... Both men and nations should live in accordance with their means and devote their substance not only to productive industry, but to the creation of the various forms of beauty and the pursuit of culture which gives adornments to the art of life."
On his view of the President:
"Any man who has been placed in the White House can not feel that it is a result of his own exertions or his own merit. Some power outside and beyond him becomes manifest through him. As he contemplates the workings of his office, he comes to realize with an increasing sense of humility that he is but an instrument in the hands of God."
"A President should not only not be selfish, but he ought to avoid the appearance of selfishness. The people would not have confidence in a man that appeared to be grasping for office.
It is difficult for men in high office to avoid the malady of self delusion. They are always surrounded by worshipers. They are constantly, and for the most part sincerely, assured of their greatness.
They live in an artificial atmosphere of adulation and exaltation which sooner or later impairs their judgement. They are in grave danger of becoming careless and arrogant."
On not running for a second term:
"We draw our Presidents from the people. It is a wholesome thing for them to return to the people. I came from them. I wish to be one of them again."
"Our country does not believe in idleness. It honors hard work. I want to serve the country again as a private citizen."
*What our country needs now more than ever:
"The only way I know to drive out evil from the country is by the constructive method of filling it with good. The country is better off tranquilly considering its blessings and merits, and earnestly striving to secure more of them, than it would be in nursing hostile bitterness about its deficiencies and faults."