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Andi Cabri Reynolds


Dr. Jenel Cope
HIST-1700-002
Primary Source Paper

Money and Power


Many of the United States elected government has been thought of as deceiving
with underlying tactics. On October 20th, 1928, President Calvin Coolidge gave a speech
that was preserved by the Everett Sanders papers entitled Coolidge Speech: Address at
Presentation of Medal to Thomas A. Edison. In this speech, there are examples of
underlying tactics. The United States government uses its power to persuade the way
people think.
To begin with, Calvin Coolidge was a lawyer in Vermont and the governor of
Massachusetts before he became the 30th president of the United States in 1923. He was
President from 1923 to 1929 because of the sudden death of President Warren G.
Harding. He was a republican who pushed for businesses and wanted economic
independence in America and changed the United States into the era of fast-paced
modernization that we know of today. Coolidge supported industries like; chemicals,
aviation, food processing, electronics, and the biggest of all Henry Fords moving

assembly line. This assembly line caused 85% of the worlds cars to be made in the U.S.
and 40% of its goods. This document reflects the republican pro-business characteristics
that Coolidge had. This document also shows the big business and advertising push there
was at this time in America.
Additionally, Coolidge saw inventions like Edisons as major revenue and was
promoting them in this document. After reading about Coolidge and his plans for the
future, this document shows that he wanted to further urban growth. Coolidge intended
for this speech to be heard globally. In this speech, President Coolidge wanted to address
the magnificence of Edisons inventions in hopes that people from all over the world
would run out and buy them from the American market and help with his dream of
economic independence for the United States. The world had a high demand for
American products in his era, America produced 1/3 of industrial outputs back then. And
electricity was the number one household appliance from 1920-1930. Coolidge was
sending a message to people that Edisons electricity was not only a want but a need as
well.
Similarly, the purpose of this speech was made to seem as if it was just promoting
Edisons hard workings and showing how far America had progressed since electricity
was invented. Although, subliminally he was advertising in a way. After all, in the 1920s
many of Edisons inventions brought mass entertainment to society, the technological
advances, and the economic prosperity of the 1920s allowed for unprecedented leisure

opportunities. Moving pictures were relatively new and attending the cinema became a
popular activity. People were spending more and more of their income on household
appliances and leisurely activities. Many words and phrases in this speech demonstrate
Coolidges way of advertising. For instance, in a part of the document Coolidge starts
explaining how Edison had come to the White House in 1878 and showed his
phonograph to President Hayes and Hayes guests. The speech then states they were
engrossed in the marvelous device, in turn, many people were influenced by both these
presidents to go out and buy their very own. People probably thought to themselves, if
both of these presidents think its that amazing maybe I should go buy one. Another
example of this is when he says, our daily lives made easier our homes more
comfortable, when talking about Edisons inventions. As if to say without Edisons
inventions life would be harder, that everyone needs these inventions, and that they are
simply a necessity to modern day life. Along with, he seems to claim Edison to the
United States almost in a way of boasting about Edisons scientific findings when he
says, The United States takes pride in the thought that his rise from humble beginnings
and his unceasing struggle to overcome the obstacles on the road to success well illustrate
the spirit of our country Noble, kindly servant of the United States. When an
influential leader like Coolidge is speaking so passionately, people are influenced into
buying products they may have not done otherwise.
Furthermore, this document exemplifies how exciting technology and innovation
was for the world at that time. The 1920s was a dynamic decade, characterized by

prosperity, leisure, technological advances, consumerism and major shifts toward modern
values. As more people relocated to large cities, like New York and Chicago, a way of life
developed that was dramatically different from the rest of rural society . More and more
of Edisons inventions were desired. Electricity in particular, was the cleanest and fastest
source of power they had ever seen and still to this day is in high demand. In this era the
United States emerged as the new world superpower, within a few years, the U.S.
economy was booming because of the many inventions and innovations. This generation
may have been the beginning of the worlds obsession with the next best thing in
technology.
To conclude, this speech by Calvin Coolidge was a significant piece of history
because it shows a start to when the United States began the large push for hardworking
and innovations from the obsession with money and power. I believe this document
illustrates the below statements. Many people in the United States elected government is
deceiving with underlying tactics. Along with, the United States government uses their
corrupted power to persuade the way people think.

Works Cited
Foner, Eric. Give Me Liberty!: An American History. New York: W.W. Norton, 2014.
Web.
History.com Staff. "Calvin Coolidge." History.com. A&E Television Networks, 2009.
Web. July 2016.
"Calvin Coolidge: Address at Presentation of Medal to Thomas A. Edison." Calvin
Coolidge: Address at Presentation of Medal to Thomas A. Edison. N.p., n.d. Web. July
1920s American Culture: City Life & Values. http://study.com/academy/lesson N.p., n.d.
Web. July 2016.