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A Constitutional Presidency

In the Public Interest- News-Herald Guest View

August 2, 2013
By John Hendrickson , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

The National Notary Association has put together a significant collection of essays on the political career and philosophy of President Calvin Coolidge. The essays contained in Why Coolidge Matters discuss why President Coolidge's legacy is still important for today. The purpose of the book is to remember that not only was Calvin Coolidge "the first and only President ever to be sworn in by a Notary Public," but also for "the way he conducted his public life."After the death of President Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge took the oath of office that was administered by his father, who was a Notary Public in Vermont.

The essays contained in Why Coolidge Matters are written by a diverse group of Coolidge scholars and others who are interested in preserving the legacy of "Silent Cal." President Coolidge, who served as the 30th President of the United States, served during the "Roaring Twenties" or what became known as "Coolidge Prosperity." As President, Coolidge was a conservative who supported limited-government policies and he was a defender of the Constitution.

As Burton Folsom wrote, "Why Calvin Coolidge matters, first, is because limited government worked well during his Presidency - an ideal that is not tried often today. Second, Coolidge had a strong character, which reflected his loyalty to the principles of freedom and constitutional government." John Van Til wrote that Coolidge's "life had two principal features," which centered on a Christian worldview and a "deep devotion to the Founding Fathers and their achievements in creating the American System, its substance being on display in the Declaration and the Constitution."

In our current era of complex political, economic, and social problems, the nation can learn a lot by studying the virtues and philosophy of President Coolidge. Why Coolidge Matters is a solid overview of why the principles of President Coolidge can be applied to the policy problems of today. Whether the issue is economic recovery, immigration, or solving a number of complex political problems, President Coolidge left us with a record that demonstrates that governing by constitutional limited-government principles is the best solution.

As historian John Moser wrote: "For Coolidge, conservatism meant strict adherence to the Constitution, a tightly limited role for the Executive Branch, and above all fiscal discipline." These are all principles that would serve both Republicans and Democrats well and the principles needed to restore the United States.

John Hendrickson is a research analyst at the Public Interest Institute in Mount Pleasant.

 
 

 

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