Calvin Coolidge believed in small government at the federal level. During his time in Massachusetts' state government, he supported many types of programs -- particularly labor-related regulations -- which he later opposed at the federal level. He believed the federal government should take a hands-off approach to business -- especially business regulations -- as much as possible. Many historians point to this laissez-faire approach to business as a cause of the Great Depression, which began with the stock market crash seven months after he left office.
Coolidge as President
Then-Vice President Coolidge became president upon the death of President Warren Harding in 1923. Coolidge supported lowering income taxes, balancing the national budget and paying down the national debt. His brand of conservative Republicanism became a model which Ronald Reagan later emulated in many ways. He ran for and won re-election in 1924, but refused to run in 1928, based on his belief that serving more than two terms in the White House was inappropriate. While in office, he supported civil rights causes for African Americans, Native Americans and Catholics. He generally opposed aid initiatives, particularly farm aid initiatives. The policy initiative for which he is best-known was the Kellogg-Briand Act of 1928, a 15-nation treaty which sought to outlaw war as a means of promoting national interests.
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