After the Woodrow Wilson years wrongly magnified the office of the presidency to near monarch-like status, Coolidge returned to a constitutional balance of power. His hands-off approach to government meddling while cutting federal spending and taxes led to virtually full employment and the most prosperous decade perhaps in the history of mankind: The Roaring ’20s.
A fierce advocate for civil rights, Coolidge granted citizenship to Native Americans and fought for the equality of black Americans. His was a presidency of firsts in many ways. He was the first to light the national Christmas tree in 1923, give a presidential radio address and broadcast an inaugural address nationwide.
As the next election neared, the Republican party was thrilled to have a wildly popular incumbent president run again. However, the wildly popular president was still despondent over the death of his beloved son. As party bosses hounded him to run for a second term, Coolidge traveled to South Dakota. It was there he encountered the sculpting of Mount Rushmore. Disgusted by the grandiose display, Coolidge decided then and there to walk away from another term as president. He wrote in his autobiography that, after a while, the president becomes vain, surrounded by yes-men, and begins to believe in his own grandeur. It was a great safety and comfort for the country, he wrote, to know that the president was not a great man — simply a man.