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ICYMI: "The Small Presidency" by Amity Shlaes

February 11, 2013 1 minute Read by Jacqueline Lowe

On the eve of the release of her new biography of former president Calvin Coolidge, entitled Coolidge, Amity Shlaes writes this National Review Online article about the notion of the small presidency. Shlaes notes that most Americans expect great and grand things from their president, “but this was not the view of the two candidates on the 1920 Republican ticket, Warren Harding of Ohio and Calvin Coolidge of Massachusetts.”

Shlaes takes a look at the attempts by Presidents Harding and Coolidge to rein in government. She points out that “Harding wanted to ensure that government did less so that commerce might enjoy free range” and even put in place measures of austerity. Following Harding’s death, Coolidge "aimed to carry out Harding’s plans ‘to perfection.’”

Read more from Shlaes on the history of these two administrations, their results, and why “sometimes it takes more strength to be small than to be big”.