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Historic Notary Moment: Celebrating the 100th anniversary of President Calvin Coolidge's oath of office

One hundred years ago this month, Calvin Coolidge was sworn into office as the 30th President of the United States. This moment would have been just another note in U.S. History except for one fact: He was the first and only president to have been sworn in by a Notary Public.

Coolidge took his oath of office on August 3, 1923, following the sudden death of President Warren G. Harding, to whom he served as vice president. News of Harding’s death arrived very early in the morning at the Coolidge Homestead in Plymouth Notch, Vermont, so his father, a Notary Public, administered the oath of office at 2:30 a.m. by the light of a kerosene lamp. The entire scene was witnessed by reporters and memorialized in a now-famous painting.

In the decades that have followed, the impact of Coolidge’s presidency has been deliberated by scholars. But most agree that his unwavering dedication to public service, integrity, impartiality, and civility was his monumental strength. Interestingly enough, Coolidge’s core principles mirror those of Notaries Public, which further reinforced the indelible connection between his legacy and America’s 4.4 million Notaries today.

Coolidge was a firm champion of limited government intervention and individual liberty. He firmly believed that a government's role should be restrained, allowing citizens the freedom to pursue their aspirations and achieve their potential. The U.S. economy flourished under his leadership, starting a period of unprecedented prosperity known today as the "Roaring Twenties."

He is often referred to as “Silent Cal,” as he was a man of few words but decisive action. He always adhered to the principles of honesty, transparency, and humility, and he was renowned for his incorruptibility at a time when political scandals were commonplace. His civility toward both allies and opponents and his dedication to fostering unity were equally celebrated during the heightened political divisions of the 1920s, which minted him as a true statesman. He was loved by citizens and respected by his political peers.

For decades the NNA has celebrated Coolidge’s leadership, principles, and strong connection to Notaries Public. If you’d like to learn more about his historical impact and how he is viewed by influencers today, check out “Why Coolidge Matters.”

Phillip Browne is Vice President of Communications at the National Notary Association.

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08 Aug 2023

This is very interesting!

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