The Coolidge Administration

Calvin Coolidge took the oath of office from his father, a justice of the peace in Plymouth Notch, Vermont, on the day following Warren Harding's death.

Domestic Affairs. Few political pros in 1923 believed that Coolidge had any chance of being elected in his own right in the following year. However, the president demonstrated great political skill by distancing himself from the Harding scandals and pursuing policies that enjoyed widespread support.

The thoroughly conservative Coolidge believed that those who had been tested in the business arena should be trusted with making decisions for the nation, once opining that "The business of America is business." Little significant legislation was enacted during his administration because of his firmly held belief that government should interfere as little as possible in the lives of its citizens.

Soldiers Bonus Act (May 1924). Congress overrode a Coolidge veto to provide a measure of federal aid to World War I veterans.

Immigration Act of 1924 (May 1924). The application of the formula contained in this measure resulted in a severe reduction in the number of Southern and Eastern Europeans entering the U.S.

McNary-Haugen Bill (1924-28). Farm bloc efforts to provide federal aid to ailing American farmers were repeatedly thwarted by Coolidge.

Election of 1924. Anerican voters did not hold Coolidge responsible for the Harding scandals and handed the Republicans a smashing victory.

Judges' Bill (February 1925). At the behest of the U.S. Supreme Court, Congress directed many appeals to the Court of Appeals.

Revenue Act of 1926 (February 1926). This measure was a continuation of Secretary Mellon's plan to stimulate the economy through tax reduction.

Congressional Elections of 1926 (November 1926). Republican majorities in both houses of Congress were reduced as Democrats and Progressives gained seats.

Merchant Marine Act (May 1928). Congress acted to encourage private American shipbuilders through a federal loan program.
Election of 1928. The U.S. electorate soundly rejected an Irish-American, Roman Catholic candidate who had ties to Tammany Hall and favored the repeal of prohibition.

Foreign Affairs. Aided by two able secretaries of state, Coolidge pursued arms limitations efforts with the major powers and cooperated somewhat distantly with the League of Nations. In the Western Hemisphere, the administration took strong action to protect American lives and investments.

Foreign Service Act (May 1924). This measure merged related consular and diplomatic services and considerably improved the lot of career employees.
The Dawes Plan (April 1924). The U.S. vice president helped to craft a plan for annual German installment payments of reparations, but avoided the more troublesome issue of the total amount owed.
U.S.-Dominican Relations. A U.S.-imposed goverment, dating from the Wilson administration, remained in control until 1924, but economic constraints remained until 1940.
The World Court. Senate Irreconcilables blocked U.S. adherence to the Court by attaching reservations to a resolution.
Geneva Conference (Summer 1927). A failed arms reduction effort led to U.S. resumption of naval construction programs.
Kellogg-Briand Pact (August 1928). Public opinion and the press lauded the multilateral effort to outlaw war; seasoned politicians, however, were not optimistic.
U.S.-Mexican Relations. A new Mexican constitution in 1917 heralded refom, but U.S. business interests opposed a lessening of their ownership rights. Loose talk of war was heard, but diplomacy prevailed in the end.
U.S.-Nicaraguan Relations. A long-term U.S. military presence in Nicaragua persisted due to Coolidge's dedication to preserving stability and American investments in the area.
Clark Memorandum (December 1928). A State Department undersecretary prepared a position paper that advanced a more restrained interpretation of the Monroe Doctrine. It would later be published by the Hoover administration in an effort to improve relations with Latin America.
The Young Plan (1929). Coolidge began the process of refashioning the German reparations formula; the new plan would be completed by the incoming Hoover administration.

Life and Society in the Coolidge Era. The Coolidge years are often remembered as the Roaring Twenties, an era of flappers, bathtub gin, and get-rich-quick schemes. Heroes were worshipped by the masses — Babe Ruth, Charles Lindbergh, and new stars in the emerging film industry. There was, however, a darker side of American life that saw urban society contemptuous of unsophisticated rural dwellers, who in turn viewed city residents as corrupt and immoral.

The Scopes Monkey Trial (July 1925). The forces of religious fundamentalism and modernism confonted one another in a Tennessee court room in the summer of 1925.
Billy Mitchell Court-Martial (December 1925). The high-profile activities of Mitchell highlighted the question of the role of air power in the American military establishment.
Sacco and Vanzetti Executions (August 1927). The ordeal of professed anarchist Italian immigrants seemed to typify the divide between the establishment of the 1920s and those with non-traditional beliefs.
Lindbergh Flight (May 1927). In an age of mass production and conformity, the solo transatlantic flight of Charles Lindbergh captured the imaginations of people around the world.



? Harding Administration

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