As a little addendum to my recent post on Ronald Reagan and his esteem of Calvin Coolidge, here’s one further bit of Reagan on Coolidge – this one from the wonderful book “Reagan: A Life in Letters” :
During the holiday season of 1984, a Vermont correspondent had sent the just-re-elected Reagan a copy of Calvin Coolidge’s Christmas Greeting of 1927, which read
“To the American People: Christmas is not a time or a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and good will, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas. If we think on these things, there will be born in us a Savior and over us will shine a star sending its gleam of hope to the world.”
Reagan, as was his wont, wrote personally on January 29, 1985 as follows:
Thank you very much for sending me the copy of Calvin Coolidge’s Christmas Greeting of 1927. I’m delighted to have it. I happen to be an admirer of “Silent Cal” and believe he has been badly treated by history. I’ve done considerable reading and researching of his presidency. He served this country very well and accomplished much before speaking the words, “I do not choose to run.” Again, my thanks. Sincerely, Ronald Reagan.
The presidency has changed immeasurably, and not for the better, between the days of Coolidge and those of Reagan. And Calvin Coolidge would have been flabbergasted at the extent and grandeur of the imperial presidency of today. But I still think it is interesting that the 40th president thought so highly of the 30th, who had for over fifty years been the subject of ridicule if not contempt by liberal historians. Quite a reversal, also, for Reagan who as a young man had been an ardent admirer of FDR – the very antithesis of Coolidge in so many ways.