Category Archives: July
Sharing a birthday with America herself, it seems that Calvin Coolidge was almost destined for the Presidency. It was thrust upon him suddenly in 1923 when President Warren G. Harding died of a heart attack. “Silent Cal” was a modest and humble man from Vermont, raised by a shopkeeper and graduating from Amherst with honors. He entered politics in Massachusetts, rising fast and establishing himself as a staunch conservative and avid Republican, climbing to the seat of governor. Politically, Coolidge was admired for his “active inactivity,” choosing to lower tax rates and lighten the mood of the White House. He believed in a lenient government, and the prosperity of his time thanked him for it. With limited government spending, a pro-business attitude, and international “isolationism,” Coolidge set America up for the Roaring Twenties. Thus, Coolidge quickly became popular, and easily won reelection in 1924. Personally, he was remembered as an aloof, silent, and dry-witted man, choosing to remain quiet in interviews and remote to the public. However, he was also kind and welcoming, greeting all sorts of delegations to the White House. His most notable reform was the Indian Citizenship Act, which in 1924 made all Native Americans born within the territorial US American citizens. In an act of gratitude, he was made an honorary member of the Sioux tribe.
Why do you – or don’t you – think a man of few words, as Calvin Coolidge famously was, might make a good president?
One summer day in an establishment now known as Independence Hall, 56 representatives of the Second Continental Congress gathered to discuss an issue that would mean to them – and their countrymen – life or death. Although the Revolutionary War had started out slowly, and many colonists weren’t “radical” enough to want full independence from England, the injustices of the British and a pamphlet by Thomas Paine called Common Sense soon persuaded everyone that they must escape the tyranny of King George III. On July 2, 1776 – a date that many Founding Fathers like John Adams would swear by as our real Independence Day – Congress voted to proclaim full and utter freedom from Britain. A handful of men, spearheaded by Thomas Jefferson, were recruited to compose the Declaration of Independence, a clear and persuasive explanation of why and how the Colonists were severing all ties with their oppressive sovereign. As one of the most beautifully written and thoughtfully constructed documents in the English canon, it’s now studied in many literature courses as a classic piece Enlightenment prose. Members of the Congress signed the document on July 4, thus solidifying the birth of the United States of America. Early Americans celebrated the Fourth with speeches, parades, and galas – and in some cases, mock funerals for George III. In 1826, both Jefferson and Adams died on the Fourth, the Declaration’s 50th Anniversary. The Fourth was made a federal holiday in 1870, and today we celebrate with fireworks, barbecues, and family!
How do you celebrate the Fourth of July?