On this day in 1923, Calvin Coolidge is sworn in as the 30th President of the United States.
President Warren G. Harding was in the midst of his “Voyage of Understanding,” a cross-country speaking tour. However, on August 2nd, he died after an apparent heart attack or stroke at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. Harding was the sixth of eight presidents to die in office.
A few hours later, Vice President Calvin Coolidge received word of Harding’s death by messenger while at his family’s homestead in Vermont, which did not have electricity or a telephone.
His father, John Calvin Coolidge Sr. was a Vermont notary public and justice of the peace so administered the oath of office. At 2:47 a.m. Coolidge took the Presidential Oath by the light of a kerosene lamp with the family’s Bible. Then, he went back to bed.
‘Silent Cal’s” seeming reticence and his hands-off economic policy of limited government interference during the ‘Roaring 20s’ helped him win reelection in 1924.
No Earthly Empire
This is a portion of the final paragraph of his Inaugural Address, given March 4, 1925:
“Here stands our country, an example of tranquillity at home, a patron of tranquillity abroad. Here stands its Government, aware of its might but obedient to its conscience. Here it will continue to stand, seeking peace and prosperity, solicitous for the welfare of the wage earner, promoting enterprise, developing waterways and natural resources, attentive to the intuitive counsel of womanhood, encouraging education, desiring the advancement of religion, supporting the cause of justice and honor among the nations. America seeks no earthly empire built on blood and force. No ambition, no temptation, lures her to thought of foreign dominions. The legions which she sends forth are armed, not with the sword, but with the cross. The higher state to which she seeks the allegiance of all mankind is not of human, but of divine origin. She cherishes no purpose save to merit the favor of Almighty God.”
Despite ‘Coolidge Prosperity,’ he said “I do not choose to run for president in 1928.”