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Calvin Coolidge's Birthday
July 4

By Sarah Lane
Jun 28, 2004, 07:06 PST

Calvin Coolidge

"Patriotism is easy to understand in America; it means looking out for yourself by looking out for your country." This statement, made by President Calvin Coolidge, was the mind-set for his administration. Silent Cal, as our 30th president was nicknamed, was a man of few words but he did say, "It takes a great man to be a good listener."

Silent Cal's birthday in 1872 could not have fallen on a more patriotic day. He is the only president who was born on the 4th of July. Visit the Calvin Coolidge Memorial Foundation of Plymouth Notch, Vermont or Virtual Vermont to learn about where he was born. Coolidge later married Grace Anne Goodhue who stood by him while he was president from 1923-1929. She was also voted one of America's twelve greatest living women in 1931.

Coolidge's father was a village storekeeper who swore his son in by candlelight. On August 3rd, 1923, our then Vice President was vacationing at his father's home when Secret Service Agents woke him up to tell him that President Harding had died of a stroke. Even though he was now the president, Coolidge had to follow through with the plans of Harding's administration.

Coolidge never expected the public to respond with favoritism to his quiet ways, but they appreciated his honesty and simplistic attitude. The campaign slogan "Keep Cool with Coolidge" stuck and he was re-elected in 1924. After a somewhat successful term as president (he vetoed the very same bills which would ultimately combine with the stock market downfall to create the Great Depression), he decided not to run again. His only words on the subject were "I choose not to run for president in 1928."

It was once said that at a dinner party a woman approached Coolidge and told him that she had a bet going with her friend to get him to say more than two words. He replied "You lose" and walked away. Another interesting, if not sad fact, is that his son died at age 16 from an infection caused by a blister he got while playing tennis. Coolidge's interest in politics waned after this event. Calvin Coolidge died on January 5th, 1933 in Northampton, Massachusetts with his wife by his side.

The White House, University of Michigan, Library of Congress

Additional Learning Links for Calvin Coolidge

The Coolidge Experience
It's clear by this site that some people appreciate today what kind of a man Calvin Coolidge really was. Explore his life history from early childhood, as well as some interesting facts about our 30th president.
Source: Ed Holden and Mark Uree

Brainy Quotes
Although Silent Cal might have been a man of few words, he sure had a lot of important things to say when he did speak. Read his most famous quotes here.
Source: Brainy Media

Additional learning links for Calvin Coolidge

Recommended Reading

The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden book The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden book

"This lavishly illustrated volume recounts the evolution of the presidency, from the age of George Washington until today. Drawing from the vast collections of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, it provides a revealing glimpse of the culture, particularly the material culture, of the presidency. Paperback, 208 pages, 19 B&W photos, 306 color photos, 9.5 x 11.5"

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