PLYMOUTH NOTCH – The Calvin Coolidge Memorial Foundation’s 50th Anniversary Symposium will be held at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston, MA on Oct. 7, 2010, under the theme “Discover Coolidge.” The symposium will feature prominent speakers, including former Massachusetts Governor and Democratic Presidential Nominee Michael Dukakis, nationally syndicated columnist Cal Thomas, historian and author Amity Schlaes, and historian and media commentator Richard Norton Smith, among others.
“Given the many problems our country is facing right now, the political career and accomplishments – and in particular the presidency – of Calvin Coolidge is incredibly relevant today,” said Coolidge Foundation Executive Director Joan Randall. “With an under-performing economy and an international situation that has everyone on edge, the U.S. today faces circumstances very similar to what President Coolidge inherited when he
During the turbulent early period of Coolidge’s presidency, he was able to implement measures that turned around the economy and defused critical international tensions. The foundation’s 50th Anniversary Symposium will be an opportunity for scholars and historians to share their perspectives on Coolidge’s presidency, and what it has to offer policy-makers, and the country as a whole, in terms of strategic and tactical approaches to addressing today’s most pressing issues.
“In the broadest terms, what President Coolidge managed to accomplish was to return the United States of America to normalcy,” said Robert Kirby, President of the Board of Trustees of the Coolidge Foundation. “As a nation, our normal state is one of entrepreneurship, prosperity, charity, and strength, and Coolidge was able to restore all of these factors, despite inheriting an economy that was tremendously indebted and sluggish due to the effects of World War I and previous missteps by his predecessors.”
Coolidge also holds the distinction of being the first president to leverage mass-media to address the American people directly. As the first “radio president,” Coolidge was a big believer in taking his message to the masses on a regular basis, us- ing not only his radio addresses, but also dozens of speeches and regular press conferences, of which he held more than any other president before him.
Kirby noted that one of Coolidge’s hallmarks was an unyielding commitment to doing the right thing. “He was extremely frugal and hardworking,” Kirby said, “and he expected the government he headed to be the same.”
One of Coolidge’s famous quotes illustrates Kirby’s point: “Do the day’s work. If it be to protect the rights of the weak, who- ever objects, do it. If it be to help a powerful corporation better to serve the people, whatever the opposition, do it… Don’t expect to build up the weak by pulling down the strong.”
“There’s an incredibly rich pool of research on Coolidge’s career and accomplishments,” said Randall, “and our 50th Anniversary Symposium will bring some of the best of that research to a wider audience, as well as provide insightful commentary from some really extraordinary luminaries of national prominence, linking the lessons of this important chapter of our history to the challenges we face today.”