During its two-plus centuries of existence, the United States has had 45 different Presidents, all unique and interesting in their own way. The oldest to serve, Ronald Reagan (77 yrs); the youngest, Theodore Roosevelt (42 yrs); the tallest, Abe Lincoln (6’4”); the biggest, William Howard Taft (350lbs); the smallest, James Madison (5’4” 100lbs), and the most-times elected, Franklin D. Roosevelt (4 times).
Even more trivia reveals that John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on the 50th Anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1826. James Monroe was wounded during the American Revolution. And Barack Obama collected Spiderman comic books. Yet one of the more interesting and lesser remembered presidents is described below:
“Under this President, the federal debt fell, the top income tax rate was reduced in half and the federal budget was always in surplus. Additionally, Americans wired their homes for electricity and bought their first cars and household appliances on credit. The economy also grew stronger, even as the federal government shrank and the rates of patent applications and patents granted increased dramatically. Also, under this Commander-in-Chief, a manfrom a town without a railroad station, Americans moved from the road and into the air.”
Calvin Coolidge, our 30th President, served from 1923 (after Warren Harding’s death) until 1929, when he declined to seek re-election for a second term. Not only did Coolidge attain all of the above, he also managed to leave office with a better reputation than he had upon his arrival. (Wouldn’t we all love to see the same happen today?) According to Amity Shlaes, Coolidge’s faith was the secret to his success.
“Calvin Coolidge wasn’t as vocal as some presidents about his religious belief. But that faith was real: strong enough to help him surmount personal setbacks, to make unpopular decisions, and to restrain his own vanity and so govern better.”
His witness might have been quietly presented, but it was evident in his presidency because of his childhood upbringing. Although John Calvin was named after his Father, from an early age he was called by his middle name. The name Calvin was chosen in honor of John Calvin, the founder of the congregations in which Coolidge was raised. The first book he read was the Gospel of John from a Bible that was given to him by his grandfather. His initial Sunday School lessons were prepared and taught to him by his grandmother. But my favorite Bible instruction can be found in the Vermont State Archive. It is Scripture Cake:
1 C butter (Judg 5:25)
3.5 C flour (1 K 4:22)
2 C sugar (Jer 6:20)
2 C raisins (1 Sam 30:12)
1 C water (Ge 24:17), 2 C figs (1 Sam 30:12)
2 C almonds (Gen 43:11)
6 eggs (Is 10:14)
1 tbsp honey (Ex 16:31)
pinch of salt (Lev 2:13)
Spices to taste (1 K 10:2)
2 tbsp baking powder (1 Co 5:6)
Follow Solomon’s advice for making good boys (Pr 23:14), bake in a loaf pan, and you have a good cake.