Celebrating the wit of 'Silent Cal' Coolidge

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It’s July 4. And for many in the United States, that means fireworks! BBQ! A day off from work! Celebrating the life and times of Calvin Coolidge?

Okay, that last bit might be a stretch. Indeed, the country’s 30th president – born 150 years ago today – didn’t go down in history as one of the greats. But the dry wit of Coolidge, who served as president in the early to mid-1920s, endures, writes IUPUI journalism scholar Chris Lamb.

Coolidge once said, “I think the American public wants a solemn ass as a president,” Lamb recalls. “And I think I’ll go along with them.”

Lamb explains that “fireworks rarely followed Coolidge during his political career” – but he still often got the last word. In celebration of “Silent Cal,” he heads today’s newsletter list, which also includes a selection of stories from The Conversation archive on the theme of July 4.

Also today:

Amy Lieberman

Politics + Society Editor

President Calvin Coolidge stands with members of a nonprofit group called the Daughters of 1812. Library of Congress/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images

Let’s spare a few words for ‘Silent Cal’ Coolidge on July 4, his 150th birthday

Chris Lamb, IUPUI

US President Calvin Coolidge hasn’t gone down in history for his triumphs or failures as president during the 1920s – but his dry sense of humor carries on.

Environment + Energy

Education

Economy + Business

Ethics + Religion

  • Frederick Douglass, July 4th, and remembering Babylon in America

    David W. Stowe, Michigan State University

    Frederick Douglass used the words of Psalm 137 in his famous speech, ‘What to a Slave is the Fourth of July?’ For centuries, this poem has resonated with writers and composers on how humans deal with trauma.

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