Vermont History Explorer
How was President Coolidge’s inauguration different from other presidents’ inaugurations?
In 1923, Calvin Coolidge was vice president of the United States. He was in Plymouth Notch, Vermont, visiting his father when President Warren G. Harding died. Calvin Coolidge’s father administered the oath of office to his son. It was the middle of the night on August 3rd. In the house where he grew up, Calvin Coolidge became the 30th president of the United States. Most US presidents are inaugurated in Washington, DC.
Many years before, on July 4, 1872, Calvin Coolidge was born in Plymouth Notch. Calvin attended the one-room school in the village. When he was 12 years old, he went away to Black River Academy in Ludlow. Coolidge left Vermont to go to Amherst College in Massachusetts.
In 1905, Calvin Coolidge married Grace Goodhue. She grew up in Burlington, Vermont. Grace also moved to Massachusetts. She worked as a teacher at the Clarke School for the Deaf. Calvin and Grace had two children, John and Calvin, Jr.
Calvin Coolidge worked as a lawyer. He was also interested in politics and won many elections. In 1918, Coolidge was elected the governor of Massachusetts. Two years later, he was elected vice president of the United States. After President Harding died, Coolidge became president. He won the election in 1924 and was president until 1929. Calvin Coolidge died in 1933.
Calvin Coolidge was a Republican. He believed that the government should not be very involved in businesses or in the lives of people. Many Americans agreed with Coolidge and voted for him in elections.
Coolidge is known as “Silent Cal.” Some people said he did not talk much. But he made many speeches on the radio. In 1925, his second inauguration was broadcast on the radio. People around the country listened to the president on the radio. In his autobiography, Coolidge wrote “It is so often that the President is on the air that almost any one who wishes has ample opportunity to hear his voice.”
Today, you can visit the village of Plymouth Notch to learn more about Calvin Coolidge. You can go in the house where he was born. You can see the room where he became president in 1923. And you can see where Calvin Coolidge, his wife and his children are buried.
Thinking about History
The 1924 campaign song “Keep Cool and Keep Coolidge” said that “Calvin Coolidge is a man of action and not talk.”
What qualities do you think are important for a president to have?
|From Vermont Farm to the White House (PDF)|
|The Farmer in the White House (PDF)|
|President Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site|
|Listen to memories of Calvin Coolidge (outside link)|
|Watch a silent movie with Calvin Coolidge at Plymouth Notch (outside link)|
|The Flood of 1927|