Monday, 4 July 2011

Calvin Coolidge

Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933)

I used to confuse the words 'taciturn' and 'laconic'.

Calvin Coolidge, thirtieth President of the United States, from 1923 to 1929, was never stuck for words, but was famous for having very few of the them: which makes him laconic, but not taciturn.

Coolidge was the first president in modern times to publicly decry top-heavy, interventionist government. His foreign policy was isolationist, and at home he twice vetoed farm relief bills during tough times for agriculture. In 1926 Walter Lippmann pointed out, not in a disparaging way, that Coolidge's genius was for doing, effectively, nothing.

Once, at a dinner party, a young woman sitting next to the president confided that she had bet she could get at least three words out of him. 'You lose,' he said.

Calvin Coolidge's other claim to fame was that he was - is - the only president in US history to have been born on the Fourth of July.
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