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CALVIN COOLIDGE

CALVIN COOLIDGE, was born July 4, 1872 to a white father (storekeeper) and mother who was believed to have “Indian blood”. Calvin, regarded as a quiet, hardworking boy, grew up in the small town of Plymouth, Vermont. He attended Amherst College and then moved to Massachusetts to study law and passed the bar, opening his own law firm a year later. He also worked in various city offices over the next several years, worked as city councilman and solicitor, state legislator and mayor of the city of Northampton. He then was elected as governor of Massachusetts. Coolidge gained national recognition during the 1919 Boston Police Strike, when the police formed a union and went on strike. The streets of Boston became dangerous and Coolidge went on the offensive, firing the strikers and hiring a new police force.

In 1920 Coolidge was unexpectedly chosen as the vice presidential running mate for Warren Harding who later died unexpectedly. Harding's administration had been full of corruption and scandal which Coolidge had not been a part, and he immediately cleaned house, firing corrupt and inept officials and hired new reliable staffers. Calvin Coolidge's quiet, but honest personality seemed to be just what the country needed at the time. By cleaning up the scandals and showing support for businesses, the economy thrived. This period of prosperity became known as the "Roaring Twenties". Winning a second term, Coolidge also spoke out in favor of the civil rights of African Americans. The notorious Klu Klux Klan lost most of its influence during his term. In 1924, Coolidge responded to a letter that claimed the United States was a "white man's country": he said....”I was amazed to receive such a letter. During the war 500,000 colored men and boys were called up under the draft, not one of whom sought to evade it. As president, I am one who feels a responsibility for living up to the traditions and maintaining the principles of integrity. Our Constitution guarantees equal rights to all our citizens, without discrimination on account of race or color. I have taken my oath to support that Constitution....”