"Nothing can replace persistence; more common than an educated derelict or talented failure there is naught, & unrewarded genius is practically a proverb." - Calvin CoolidgeJohn Calvin Coolidge Jr. (July 4th, 1872 – January 5th, 1933) was an American lawyer & statesman. He served as the 30th President of the United States, Chairman of the U.S. Railroad Commission, & was briefly President of the American Antiquarian Society.
Early Life Edit
Coolidge was born in Plymouth Notch, Windsor County, Vermont on the anniversary of Independence Day, July 4, 1872 to John Calvin Coolidge Sr., a Vermont Senator & farmer, and his wife Victoria Moor. Calvin's childhood was marked by a series of personal tragedies as his mother died in 1884 when he was twelve and his younger sister died of appendicitis at the age of fifteen.
He attended Black River Academy & St. Johnsbury Academy where he received his elementary education and later enrolled at Amherst College. He distinguished himself as an excellent debater, joined the Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity and graduated with honours cum laude. Calvin was profoundly influenced by his professor Charles E. Garman, a neo-Hegelian philosopher.
Coolidge moved to Northampton, Massachusetts following graduation to pursue a career as a lawyer at his father's urging, and apprenticed with John C. Hammond & Henry P. Field at their law firm. Calvin soon became familiar with legal precedent in Hampshire County, and was admitted to the bar in 1867. After receiving a small inheritance from his grandfather Calvin opened his own office in Northampton by 1898.
Political Career Edit
House of Representatives Edit
In 1906, Calvin was nominated as a Republican representative in the House of Representatives and was elected to the 1907 session of the Massachusetts General Court. While in Boston, Coolidge made several important connections, becoming an ally & liegeman of U.S. Senator Winthrop M. Crane and befriending Guy Currier, a Republican Senator and wealthy socialite. With new connections, Coolidge was reelected to the House of Representatives and became a much more outspoken member of the Republican Party in the 1908 session.
Mayor of Northampton Edit
Following the birth of his second son in 1908, Calvin returned to Northampton to support his growing family. He was well-known & well-liked in town, and decided to campaign for Mayor, successfully being elected in 1910. During his first term as Mayor, Coolidge increased teachers' salaries, decreased the municipal debt, and managed to cut taxes without destabilizing the budget. In 1911, he was reelected for a second term and served throughout with distinction.
U.S. Senator Edit
In 1911, Coolidge was endorsed to run for a seat on the U.S. Senate, and was successfully elected to the position, following which he attended the 1912 session as a Massachusetts Senator. During his first term he was appointed as Chairman of the temporary Strike Committee to arbitrate the demands of a strike by the workers of the American Woolen Company in Lawrence, Massachusetts in what would come to be known as the Bread & Roses strike. After two months the workers' demands were met in a settlement proposed by the committee. He was reelected in 1912, serving in the 1913 session, during which he managed to have the Western Trolley Act passed, connecting Northampton with industrial communities throughout Massachusetts. His success in the arduous ordeal earned him renown
President of the United States Edit
International Relations Edit
In 1923, following a typhoon on the Kantō Plain on the island of Honshū, Coolidge deployed the Asiatic Fleet to provide humanitarian aid to victims of the incident and the subsequent earthquake. Additionally, Coolidge established a relief fund and appealed to the public for donations to the American Red Cross, of which he was the titular head, eventually raising $12 Million USD to compensate for the expenditure of medical provisions & emergency services. These measures improved relations between the U.S. and the Empire of
Japan, however the exclusion of Japan from the Immigration Act of 1924 briefly sullied diplomatic ties between the two nations.
South Africa Edit
The administration gifted two Transvaal lions to the Coolidge family as gesture of good will between the British Empire and the United States.
Personal Life Edit
Family & Relationships Edit
In 1905, Calvin met Grace Goodhue, a University of Vermont graduate and teacher at the Clarke School for the Deaf. They were engaged in the summer and married in the Goodhue Estate on October 4, 1905. The newlyweds honeymooned in Montreal, Quebec, Canada for a week before settling in a rented home in Northampton.
Calvin and his wife sired two sons, John III in 1906 and Calvin Jr. in 1908; John III would become a wealthy railroad executive, and later establish the Coolidge Foundation which provided full college scholarships and hosted academic debates, lectures, and symposia. Unfortunately, while playing tennis with his brother in 1924, Calvin suffered a large blister on his foot which eventually became afflicted with a staphylococcus infection. The wound eventually became septic, and within the following week Calvin Jr. had died of his wounds.
Following his presidency, Coolidge retired to 16 Hampton Terrace, an estate in Northampton, Massachusetts. He greatly enjoyed boating in the Presidential yacht during his time in the White House, and thus, decided to purchase his own upon retirement. Calvin spent his time in old age boating on the Connecticut River, golfing, horseback riding, participating in marksmanship competitions, and enjoying cigars.
During this time he presided as Chairman of the Railroad Commission and a trustee of Amherst College, through which he ensured his son's career and education. He also served as President of the American Antiquarian Society, a national research institute and library.
Later Life and Death Edit
Calvin published his autobiography in 1929, briefly wrote a syndicated news column between 1930-1931, and rejected a nomination by the Republican Party for the 1932 presidential election, publicly endorsing Republican candidate Herbert Hoover. Hoover lost the general election to Vice-President and Democratic Party candidate Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Coolidge died suddenly from coronary thrombosis on January 5, 1933, and was buried in Plymouth Notch cemetery in Vermont. The Coolidge Homestead was maintained as a heritage site, and the state of Vermont established a visitors center there in his honour on the 100th anniversary of his birthday on July 4, 1972.