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4066H THE TWENTIETH CENTURY-RECONSTRUCTION PERIOD:

He has the New England virtue-or vice-of taciturnity. He will ride for hours and

average about one word to every ten miles.

He inherited the characteristic, and in his

shrewd sensing of effects and reactions, he

probably has cultivated the natural bent."

Mr. Coolidge possessed one advantage

over any other Vice-President who had

succeeded a dead chief. At the beginning

of his Administration President Harding

had adopted the custom of having the Vice-President attend Cabinet meetings and

give his counsel on public questions. It

happened in consequence, therefore, that

when called to the Presidency, Coolidge

possessed a knowledge of public affairs he

would not otherwise have had. Furthermore, he had a better acquaintance with

the characteristics of the Cabinet officers

who would now be his official assistants. In

the eyes of many people it seemed almost

providential that President Harding had

adopted the custom referred to.

Before Harding's death it seemed practically certain that he would be renominated

to succeed himself. Whether he would be

re-elected was a more doubtful matter, for

much political discontent existed, but Republican leaders for the most part had

concluded that the chances of victory with

Harding would be better than with any

other man.

The death of Harding and the accession

of Coolidge completely changed the situation. In the first weeks in office the new

President made a favorable impression upon

the country, and a considerable number of

Republican leaders hastened to declare

themselves favorable to his nomination in

1924. President Coolidge himself sought to

prevent any discussion of this matter and

gave his friends and the public to understand that the first thing to do must be to

attend to the public business. It seemed

likely, however, that if he succeeded in

making a good record during the next few

months he would be the Republican standard bearer.

Among Democrats there existed a feeling that they had an excellent opportunity

to win the election in 1924, and a number of

leaders, among them Senator Underwood,

ex-Secretary of the Treasury McAdoo, and

Senator Ralston of Indiana, became active

or receptive candidates for the Democratic

nomination.

Great interest existed throughout the

country as to whether Henry Ford, the

automobile manufacturer of Detroit, would

attempt to win the presidency and with

what party he would affiliate in case he did

so. In 1918 he had run for the senatorship

in Michigan on the Democratic ticket, but

some observers believed that he would run

for the presidency as an independent.

There could be no question of his popularity

with a large section of the people, though

many persons doubted his qualifications

for the office, nor was his name viewed with

much favor by the politicians of either

party. Mr. Ford disclaimed any intention

of being a candidate, saying he was too busy

with his private affairs, but in the summer

of 1923 he permitted a magazine writer to

state his views on public questions.

The fifth Pan-American Congress met

at Santiago, Chile, on March 25, 1923,

under the chairmanship of Senor Augustin

Edwards, Chilean ambassador to Great

Britain and President of the League of

Nations. The delegates were welcomed by

President Alessandri of Chile, who described the Pan-American Union as "a

powerful aggregation defending the future

of humanity." "Pan-Americanism is more

than an idea," he said, "it is an actual

dynamic force, born from inevitable geographical, historical, and political causes."

Henry P. Fletcher, head of the United

States delegation, read a special message

from Secretary of State Hughes earnestly

pleading that the nations assembled in

conference, as well as others, set themselves

to the task of removing every remnant of

suspicion and hatred and of cultivating

friendship and good will. Some forward

measures were accomplished, but the opposition of Chile prevented consideration of

proposals for mutual reduction of armaments. The requirement that the consent

of every state represented must be given

before a measure can be adopted renders

extremely difficult, in fact, the solution of

any problem involving opposing points of