The Coolidge Scholarship application includes three essays. Essays two and three both have required readings which can be found below.  

Please note: while the below readings are required, you are certainly permitted to reference other sources when preparing your essays — a good place to start is our About Coolidge page.


Essay 2

Prompt: Please read the Autobiography of Calvin Coolidge. Please also read the three Coolidge speeches available below.

After completing these readings, choose a principle that Coolidge elucidates in his Autobiography and in at least one of the three speeches. In an essay of not more than 400 words, clearly identify the principle, explain why it was important to Coolidge, and explain how the principle impacted the way Coolidge governed, citing specific examples from his career in public service.

Important note: although you personally may not agree with Coolidge, for this essay try to get inside Coolidge’s head and explain how Coolidge thought about the principle you identify.


The Autobiography of Calvin Coolidge by Calvin Coolidge

Speech 1: Have Faith in Massachusetts – January 7, 1914

Speech 2: Toleration & Liberalism – October 6, 1925

Speech 3: The Inspiration of the Declaration of Independence – July 5, 1926


Essay 3

Prompt: Coolidge believed Americans and their communities were often more effective than the government at solving problems. Coolidge also believed strongly in individuals’ right to their own property, and famously said that excessive taxation by the government was “legalized larceny.” Larceny is theft. Coolidge was reminding the country that tax money comes from somewhere — from citizens’ property.

Why would Coolidge consider it moral for individual Americans to keep more of their property as opposed to the government taking a large share of people’s property through high taxation? In Coolidge’s mind, how would keeping private property in private hands benefit all Americans, even the poor? What obligations did Coolidge believe Americans had with respect to their property? Is there a difference between taxation and charity?

Please prepare an essay of 600 words or fewer in which you address the questions posed above. To assist in your preparation, please carefully read the Coolidge speeches below.

Important note: although you personally may not agree with Coolidge, for this essay try to get inside his head and explain how you believe Coolidge thought about these issues. A strong essay will engage with the Coolidge speeches provided below and thoughtfully consider the topics and questions posed above.


Speech 1: 1925 Inaugural Address (excerpt) – March 4, 1925

Speech 2: Economy in the Interest of All (excerpt) – June 30, 1924

Speech 3: Discriminating Benevolence – October 26, 1924

Relevant Quotes: Select Quotes for Essay 3