Exam preparation materials

THE PRESIDENCY OF CALVIN COOLIDGE

American business leaders could have had no better friend in the White House than Calvin Coolidge. His credo was that “the business of the United States is business.” Coolidge did little as president, but this was largely intentional; he was convinced that the major decisions affecting American society should be made by businessmen. Like Harding, Coolidge believed in increased tax cuts for the wealthy and favored policies that would help promote American business.

Several decisions made during Coolidge’s presidency demonstrate the administration’s thinking. Coolidge proposed that a dam constructed at Muscle Shoals, Alabama, on the Tennessee River by the government during World War I be turned over to private interests; this plan was defeated by the Congress (the dam would become a crucial part of the Tennessee Valley Authority in the 1930s). In the Revenue Act of 1926 large tax cuts were given to the wealthiest members of society. Finally, on the grounds that the government couldn’t afford it, Coolidge vetoed payments to World War I veterans (Congress passed the legislation over the president’s veto).

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