Friday, August 2, 2013

August 2 - Calvin Coolidge

90 years ago: On August 2, 1923, Calvin Coolidge became President of the United States when Warren Harding died suddenly while on a speaking tour in the West. Coolidge was at his family home in Plymouth Notch, Vermont, in the same house where he was born. It had neither electricity nor a telephone. He received word of Harding’s passing by messenger, and was sworn in by his father, a notary public, by the light of a kerosene lamp in the family parlor at 2:47 a.m. the next morning. He then went back to bed. The oath was readministered the next day in Washington. His speech to Congress in December was the first to be broadcast over the radio. He was elected in 1924 to his only full term and chose not to run again. A Progressive Republican of the Roaring ‘20s, Coolidge supported the civil rights of African Americans and Catholics and refused to appoint known members of the Ku Klux Klan (which lost most of its influence during his term). He is known for laissez-faire policies and his statement, “the chief business of the American people is business.”

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