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Calvin Coolidge

"Should the day ever dawn, when Jefferson's warnings are heeded at last, and we reduce government to its simplest terms, it may very well happen that Calvin's bones now resting inconspicuously in the Vermont granite will come to be revered as those of a man who really did the nation some service." -- H.L. Mencken, on Coolidge's death in 1933

Dorothy Parker, on Coolidge's death: "How can they tell?"


On Stating the Obvious:

On Taxes:

On Class Warfare (i.e. "Soaking the Rich"):

From his Inaugural Address (Wednesday, March 4, 1925):

Results of Coolidge Policy

"In 1922, the effective tax rate on the wealthy was 50 percent, who paid a total of $77 million into the Treasury. By 1927, Coolidge had cut their tax rate to 20 percent -- but the same group paid $230 million in taxes. Meanwhile, the total tax burden on people making less than $10,000 fell from $130 million in 1923 to less than $20 million in 1929."

-- Cal Thomas at The Heritage Foundation on October 31, 1996, as part of a lecture series on Great Conservative Heroes.

His Son's Tragic Death

"Coolidge tells about the son of his who died from a slight accident right on the south lawn of the White House. Coolidge tells us young Calvin "had a remarkable insight into things. The day I became President he had just started to work in a tobacco field. When one of his fellow laborers said to him, ‘If my father was President I would not work in a tobacco field,’ Calvin replied, ‘If my father were your father, you would.’" That son not only understood America the way his father did but expressed his understanding with the family brevity. Coolidge’s mere retelling of the story tells us how pleased he was with his son.

Yet the boy died, and his death tested the faith of his father. "In his suffering he was asking me to make him well. I could not," Coolidge reports with terrible simplicity. From others we learn that Coolidge caught a rabbit on the White House grounds and brought it to his boy, and that he held him in his arms as he died."

-- The Life of Calvin Coolidge By Dr. Michael Platt

The Business of America

"A final note on the economics of Calvin Coolidge - a note admirably described in Robert Sobel's biography. Coolidge's reputed statement for which he has long has been derided is "the business of America is business." In truth, what he said in passing in a 1925 speech to the American Society of Newspaper Editors, was "After all, the chief business of the American people is business." It didn't get much attention at the time, and shouldn't have. What Coolidge said in the same speech that fully reflected his views was this: "It is only those who do not understand our people, who believe our national life is entirely absorbed by material motives. We make no concealment of the fact that we want wealth, but there are many other things we want much more. We want peace and honor, and that charity which is so strong an element of all civilization. The chief ideal of the American people is idealism."

-- Robert Novak, The Coolidge Legacy, 1998

Short Coolidge bio

Calvin, We Hardly Knew Ye (Richard Norton Smith)

Silent Cal Speaks (Calvin Thomas)

The Life of Calvin Coolidge (Michael Platt)

Quotable Coolidge


The Coolidge Legacy (Robert Novak)

Other tax quotes


Page last updated: Tuesday, 08-Feb-2011 09:17:59 EST