Page 0008

4066G THE TWENTIETH CENTURY-RECONSTRUCTION PERIOD.

the cooperation of all those who have been

associated with the President during his

term of office. Those who have given their

efforts to assist him I wish to retain in

office that they may assist me. I have

faith that God will direct the destinies of

our nation."

Mr. Coolidge expressed a wish that the

oath of office should be administered to

him by his father, who was a notary public.

The ceremony took place at 2.37 a. m. in a

simple room of the modest farmhouse, by

the flickering light of a kerosene lamp, and

in the presence of two or three newspaper

men, who had motored out in the night.

Comparatively little was known by the

general public of the man thus suddenly

called to the helm of state. He was born at

Plymouth, Vermont, July 4, 1872, of old

New England stock. In a speech made to

neighbors after his nomination for the Vice-Presidency he had said: "Vermont is my

birthright. Here one gets close to nature;

in the mountains, in the brooks, the waters

of which hurry to the sea; in the lakes,

shining like silver in their green setting;

in the fields tilled not by machinery, but by

the brain and hand of man. My folks are

happy and contented. They belong to

themselves, live within their income, and

fear no man."

Young Coolidge attended the village

school, the Black River Academy at Ludlow, the academy at St. Johnsbury, and

Amherst College, and received the degree of

A. B. cum laude from the last mentioned

institution in 1895. In his senior year he

won first place in a competition open to

students of all colleges with an essay on

"The Principles for Which the Revolution

Was Fought."

He began the study of law in an office at

Northampton, Massachusetts, and was

admitted to the bar in 1897. He soon

entered politics and was successively a

member of the city council, county clerk,

state representative, mayor, state senator,

President of the Senate, Lieutenant-Governor of Massachusetts, and Governor in

1919 and 1920. As Governor, by his firm

handling of a police strike in Boston, he

won national attention, and when it was

deemed desirable by the Republican National Convention in 1920 to nominate an

eastern man for the Vice-Presidency, he

was the man chosen.

Most men familiar with his career emphasize his "luck," his practical turn of

mind, and his taciturnity. A Boston

editor writes of him:

"Now 'Cal is President. We have

faith in him. He has grown much in

twenty years. His full stature lies still in

the future. Responsibility, it is true, has

never yet made demands beyond his

capacity. But that vast leap to the Presidency! Will he make good in the White

House? We hope, and believe, he will.

'Duty' to him is the biggest word in the

language save one-'service.' We read his

speeches and bracket those words together.

There is no derision in our mimicry of his

style of speech. He puzzles us, but he is not

inscrutable. He is silent as a Trappist

monk, but on occasion he speaks more

effectively than most men of many words.

He is as unobtrusive as a second violin in

an orchestra, but he sees all there is to see

and asserts himself when necessary. Nobody slaps him on the back, but almost

everybody likes him. Exuberant flamboyancy subsides, abashed in his presence.

He never forgets. He keeps his word and

expects other men to keep theirs. Look at

him merely as one in a room full of public

men and he is the last you would consider

as a man of destiny. Yet he has run for

many offices and never been defeated; he

has dealt with emergencies and increased

his fame by his action; he has played to no

gallery; yet he fills a great place in the

popular imagination. . . .

"In the fall of 1903 Calvin Coolidge

entered the Legislature from Northampton.

He brought a letter from a prominent

judge to the speaker of the house. It read:

'Dear John, look after this young man.

Like the singed cat, he is better than he

looks.' That first term he spoke from the

floor only once, a very few remarks on a

small matter. He promptly established a

reputation for keeping still. He looked on

and held his tongue; he always voted and

always appeared for the opening prayer.