John Calvin Coolidge Jr. (July 4, 1872 – January 5, 1933) made the first president political speech on the radio today. The 30th President of the United States (1923–29) was a Republican lawyer from Vermont who worked his way up the ladder of Massachusetts state politics, and eventually becoming governor of that state. His response to the Boston Police Strike of 1919 thrust him into the national spotlight and gave him a reputation as a man of decisive action. Soon after, he was elected as the 29th vice president in 1920 and succeeded to the presidency upon the sudden death of Warren G. Harding in 1923.
Elected in his own right in 1924, he gained a reputation as a small-government conservative, and also as a man who said very little, although having a rather dry sense of humor.
Coolidge restored public confidence in the White House after the scandals of his predecessor’s administration, and left office with considerable popularity.
As a Coolidge biographer wrote, “He embodied the spirit and hopes of the middle class, could interpret their longings and express their opinions. That he did represent the genius of the average is the most convincing proof of his strength.”
Coolidge’s retirement was relatively short, as he died at the age of 60 in January 1933, less than two months before his immediate successor, Herbert Hoover, left office.
Though his reputation underwent a renaissance during the Ronald Reagan administration, modern assessments of Coolidge’s presidency are divided. He is adulated among advocates of smaller government and laissez-faire; supporters of an active central government generally view him less favorably, while both sides praise his stalwart support of racial equality.