On Refusing the Temptations of Power

Political illustration depicting Coolidge, in the tradition of Roman republicans from Cincinnatus onward, after his steadfast refusal to extend his executive powers for another four years. Coolidge resolved instead to leave public office, lay down the mantle of authority and step out of the limelight for others chosen by the American people to succeed him. Cartoon by Rollin Kirby appearing in The New York World, March 24, 1928.

Political illustration depicting Coolidge, in the tradition of Roman republicans from Cincinnatus onward, after his steadfast refusal to extend executive powers for another four years. Coolidge resolved to leave Washington behind when his term ended, laying down the mantle of authority and stepping out of the limelight so that others chosen by the American people could lead without the meddling interference of a former President. He held true to that honorable precedent whatever it cost him personally or his legacy historically. What a profound reaffirmation of America’s great institutions. Little can anyone fully appreciate the strength of character and devotion to country this took. Cartoon by Rollin Kirby appearing in The New York World, March 24, 1928. Courtesy of Fine Art America.

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