'Glenn Beck': Calvin Coolidge Still Matters

This is a rush transcript from "Glenn Beck," August 13, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GLENN BECK, HOST: Well, hello, America.

I told you earlier this week about George Soros and the funding that he sent to the Center for American Progress — not really a place known for its, you know, cost-cutting measures. But, it — there is a booklet on education. And it said that these are the things, these are the niche items that we can cut from education.

Are you ready?

U.S. history, constitutional studies, and anything to do with economics. That's what the Center for American Progress — they say that is "niche": the Constitution.

Well, the reason I wanted to tell you about that is because that "niche" history is being erased and it's only going to get much, much worse.

The way history has been disappearing — you have to ask yourself, why? Why haven't you been talked some of the things that you've learned on this program? Because history serves as a damning series of rock-solid evidence that progressive policies do not work. The only way to convince people to keep trying them is to keep changing the names, places, dates, erase whole sections of history. You've got to change history.

Progressives are an enemy to the Constitution. They want to progress past the Constitution.

Woodrow Wilson and FDR are propped up as great American presidents.

If you read anything about Woodrow Wilson, you will not believe that this guy isn't known as one of the worst presidents of all time — racist, awful — awful man. You don't even have to start with his policies — oh, but I could.

But this guy is — remembered as neutral, at best. We're told of all the wonderful things FDR did. You know, he got us out of the New Deal, out of the Great Depression.

No. Wait a minute, can we ask this question? Why is the depression is called the "depression" every other country except for America? In America, it's called the Great Depression — because of the policies of FDR.

Now, have you ever heard of Calvin Coolidge? If so, what do you know about him? You read anything in your history books and they'll say, he ran a laissez-faire style government. Oh, let's just pause for a moment and save you the thought of laissez-faire government. I don't even know what that means.

Calvin Coolidge, the president progressives need you to forget about. He was actually Ronald Reagan's favorite president, or one of them. He drastically reduced the size of government and thwarted a depression.

A depression in 1920? Did you even know that? Bigger, deeper than 1929.

What did he do to get out of that depression, out of that decline? The country was in horrible shape when he came into office. And then when he left, it was the "Roaring Twenties" — another little fact progressives don't want you to notice.

Tonight, we'll take a closer look at America's — well, one of best presidents I think we've ever had that you don't know very much about.

David Pietrusza is here. He is an historian and author of "Silent Cal's Almanack." He also — you wrote "1920."


BECK: Which is an unbelievable book you should read.

Amity Shlaes is also here. Amity, she wrote the book, "The Forgotten Man."

Before I knew anything about progressivism, as I was seeing the economy starting to spiral out of control, I picked up this little book called "The Forgotten Man." Amity is responsible for much of the nightmare that people call me now because I learned so much from that book and got me kind of into this "Alice in Wonderland" rabbit hole that is now called "The Glenn Beck Program." She is a senior fellow at the Council of Foreign Relations, which I believe is evil. And she is a contributing writer to a new book, "Why Coolidge Matters."

And you're also writing a new one on Coolidge just called, "Coolidge," right?


BECK: Why the heck would anyone care about Calvin Coolidge?

PIETRUSZA: Because every politician who wants to obtain office says "I'm going to do four or five things: I'm going to cut taxes, I'm going to reduce waste in government, I'm going to cut the debt, and I'm going to bring you prosperity and everybody is going to have a job and there's going to be no inflation" and they infer do it. We fall for it every stinking time and they never do it.

And Calvin Coolidge did all of those things. And then, the historians and the pundits say, he was in office for six years and didn't do a damn thing.

BECK: Right. That's kind of his — that's kind of his highlight, isn't it? That he didn't — I mean, he did an awful lot but it was in reducing government. It wasn't going to save anybody.

SHLAES: Well, that's right, Glenn. I call Coolidge the great refrainer because he was the opposite of a modern president. When he saw trouble, he refrained and stood back and said, "Therefore, things may get better if someone stays out of the way."

What are examples? A big one was the flood of the Mississippi in 1927, which was their Katrina. Did Coolidge race down there? No. He did not. He sent his commerce secretary, Hoover, but he didn't jump in.

In fact, he said, "Well, maybe the federal government's role isn't to jump in. Maybe it's the job of the states to manage a regional crisis."

There was federal funding that he signed for this crisis, this terrible flood, but he made the lawmakers reduce the funding to a third of its size. He said, "Don't magnify this emergency and give a new role to the federal government, make it smaller and handle it."

BECK: Amity, wait a minute. So people understand this emergency, what year did this happen?

SHLAES: 1927.

BECK: 1927. So, people understand this emergency — a large area was under 30 feet of water. How big was — do you have this the —

SHLAES: Hundreds and hundreds of miles.

BECK: OK. And under 30 feet of water, hundreds of people died. This is the Katrina of the 1920s. Of that generation, this was the Katrina.

And, to show you the difference in how far we've come with progressives, at the time that this happened, nobody was standing on their roof with signs saying, "Help me." They were helping themselves.

And what he did actually was even a big step forward. People were — not the government — the federal government at the time did not go in and solve the problems?

PIETRUSZA: No, he refrained from that. He refrained from pouring federal money into it. Hoover coordinated as he did in many cases in the World War I, food shortage, through voluntarism. Now, Coolidge also opposes federal aid to highways and such — and this kind of taking money from one state, Texas, and giving it to New York or whatever.

You know, this — this is what he said. "To temp the state by federal subsidies is to sacrifice their vested rights. It is not a wholesome practice no matter how worthy the object to be obtained.

It's just something which rewards the profligate, encourages waste. When you get money for free, you don't work it like as if you worked it to earn it.

BECK: Nothing of value, you don't appreciate the value of something.

PIETRUSZA: And he understood that because of his background in Vermont. He comes from a very tiny little place, Plymouth Notch, in Vermont. And he goes around with his father, who's a tax collector. And he says, "When I went around with my father I realize people had to work to earn money to pay those taxes." A very simple lesson, but which a lot of people in Washington don't know today.

BECK: OK. Now, let me — let me take you here so you understand the setting. Woodrow Wilson, who if you have watched two minutes of this show — you know I hate that guy.

Woodrow Wilson has taken this country and while he is in office, he has given us federal income tax, he has given us prohibition. Woodrow Wilson gave us the fed. He totally transformed things.

He's introducing now social justice. He's tried to introduce the League of Nations, which is basically the United Nations, and Americans like that League of Nations as much as we now like the League of Nations. It was through trickery and progressive tactics that got the United Nations through. They learned — that's what progressives, one thing they do is they learn which devices work and which don't.

So, he was wildly unpopular. His second term, he runs against the war and says, "I'll keep you out of war." In January, he is sworn in and I think it's the next month?

PIETRUSZA: March, he's sworn in back then.

BECK: In March?


BECK: OK. In the month later —

PIETRUSZA: And in April, we're at war.

BECK: A month later — I'll keep you out of — a month later, we're at war.

Then you have the plague, the epidemic, the flu epidemic that wipes people out. Guys start to come home and the economy, all of this stuff has happened.

I mean, America has been traumatized and Woodrow Wilson at the time now incapacitated, he's had a stroke and his wife is actually holding — nobody in Congress has even seen him for about a year, and his wife is signing all of the documents. It's crazy town.

The reason I tell you is — does any of it sound familiar?

America had been fundamentally transformed in a very relatively short period of time and Americans were freaking out.

PIETRUSZA: When Wilson starts — gets in, the income tax is 7 percent. And then it goes, during the war, it's 77 percent, I think they take it down to 70 percent when he leaves.

That year is also a year of tremendous strikes. It's one of the great strike-ridden years of labor unrest in the country and it's also a year of domestic terrorism. That's when you had the Wall Street bombing which has been you heard about with the Times Square bombing.

And also, you had bombings of the attorney general's office — of his home, excuse me, which ends up blowing body parts into the roof of the next door neighbor's house, across the street, Franklin D. Roosevelt. I mean, things are a mess.

And what is Wilson doing? He's obsessing about a new world order, the League of Nations — creating this thing, the sort of "Philip Dru: Administrator" world situation and ignores this thing as the country is going to hell in a hand basket.

BECK: OK. So, America is freaking out. And they know they don't want any of this progressive nightmare. And, so, they have to change presidents. And they vote for Warren G. Harding. He serves how long?

PIETRUSZA: He serves until August 2, 1923.


SHLAES: But, Glenn, there's one event here that we're missing, which is there was a police strike in Boston at this time — an example of new union power and progressive power. And the police were underpaid so it was a compelling strike.

But Coolidge, the governor, overseeing the police commissioner, said these people are striking and we're having trouble in Boston; chaos; people being hurt, maybe killed. And he said there is no right to strike against the public safety by anyone, anywhere, any time. This was Governor Coolidge.

And the country heard and said, someone has drawn the line. The unions can only go so far and not further. There's no right to striking against public safety. And that woke the country up.

BECK: Look at the similarities here. Look at the mid-1900's or, you know, 1916, 1917, 1920, look at that time period. The 1930s, under FDR, another progressive. Then you go to the 1960s under JFK, and especially LBJ. And then, now.

You have these giant progressive periods and look what they all have in common: they all have civil unrest; horrible, horrible economies; war; terrorism; some sort of domestic terrorism; and unions that are absolutely running everything out-of-control. That's significant, isn't it? Should people notice that every time we have these progressive giants, these exact things come into play?

PIETRUSZA: They exploit crises.

BECK: Right

PIETRUSZA: In Coolidge's time period, where people say nothing happened. I think there's an old saying that the happiest days of mankind are written on the blank pages of history.

So, yes, there is in war with Coolidge. And, you know, there could have been a war. There were — there were adventures of John J. Pershing galloping into Mexico under Woodrow Wilson. He settled that down. He settled that down and he brought the troops home from Nicaragua with the early Sandinistas. He worked towards outlining the war in treaties. He worked with the World Court.

But there were no great crisis, because that's not the measure. The measure is often what you avoid.

BECK: Was he progressive at all? Was there any part of him progressive? Because he doesn't seem — progressives on the Republican side tend to go out and do war but war as Americans, led by Americans. Theodore Roosevelt where the progressives on the Democratic side go out and do war under an international umbrella.

So, was he progressive at all? Not just on war?

SHLAES: I would say he was liberal in the classical sense, that is he stood up for the individual —

BECK: Libertarian.

SHLAES: Liberal in the European sense.

BECK: Right, right.

SHLAES: Which is he stood up for women, when women got the vote just around then and he was a big fan of women, he appointed women, but not as a group, as individuals. Just as Ward Connerly would say, "Blacks are Americans, not a political group." As individuals, he was a big help to blacks in the same way, let them be citizens like the rest.

BECK: Hang on. Let's go back — let's just stop at blacks because Wilson, this progressive —


BECK: — was a nightmare when it came to African-Americans, an absolute nightmare. You know, I don't need to get into —

PIETRUSZA: Coolidge when Coolidge is lieutenant governor of Massachusetts, he gives a talk and he's talking about the war and he says, "The German government has been knocking us and they have been knocking the fact that we have colored troops in Europe fighting alongside in other units with us and I would hope that when we finally accept the surrender of the Kaiser's government, we will have a contingent of colored troops around."

When he was running for office in 1924, he didn't really speak out against the Klan, but what he did was he went and spoke to a (INAUDIBLE). He went to speak to the Knights of Columbus and he delivered a graduating address at the all black Howard University. When he goes and dedicates the World War I memorial in Kansas City, which is a very Southern-like town, he insists a detachment of black troops from the Leavenworth — Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, accompany him.

BECK: Which, again, is a complete reversal of Woodrow Wilson. The term, I keep — I keep passing over Harding and Harding was important. But Coolidge was Harding's vice president.


BECK: And Harding dies in office. And didn't his father swear Coolidge in?

PIETRUSZA: Absolutely. When Harding dies, he's on a great western trip. He's up in Alaska. He comes down to California. He takes ill, dies after a few days being hold up in a hotel room in San Francisco. They bring the news to Calvin Coolidge.

And as I said earlier, he comes from this little town in Vermont, Plymouth Notch. And the place is so isolated, there's no phone. The vice president of the United States is vacationing there with his father on the old homestead.

And they have to drive 10 to 12 miles to get to the place at 1:00 in the morning to let the vice president know he's going to be the president of the United States. They swear him in because he says — he's a very practical man — and says we can't go without a president very long. Who can do this? "My father's a notary, my father's a notary" — and he calls the Department of State, "Can a notary do it?" Yes.

And they eventually do it again, in case. But they do it by kerosene light. There is no electricity. No phone at this place.

BECK: This is really important — that it's kerosene light and I'll explain why. And I think it will give a little hope on what we're facing today. We see the parallels on the setup. And, remember, kerosene lamp. I'll give that to you next.




BECK: We're talking about my favorite U.S. president, Calvin Coolidge.

This is a seat cushion. Oh, there are some president's faces that belong — well, never mind.


BECK: That's — well, it's not. I was just going to say that's beneath me, but, really, it's not.

We're talking about Calvin Coolidge and if you want to learn more about him after this show, logon to and sign up for the Insider Extreme account. We have a brand new special posted on the Web site today called "The Truth about Calvin Coolidge." It's at, do it now.

We're back with Calvin Coolidge biographer, David Pietrusza, and also, Amity Shlaes.

And I want to talk where we left it off. I think everybody — everybody has the point that it's a lot like today. When he comes into office, it's a lot like today. And people are freaking out. You got this gigantic government going completely in the other direction and then Calvin Coolidge is brought in.

PIETRUSZA: Well, actually, Harding.

BECK: Harding.

PIETRUSZA: And the taxes are cut under Harding like from 70 percent to 56 percent, and then Coolidge ratchets it up even more.

BECK: And there's another guy named Mellon that's involved. He's the treasury


BECK: Right. And he is Carnegie Mellon guy.


BECK: Yes. And also, then, later, vilified and persecuted under FDR.

PIETRUSZA: Seriously.

BECK: Seriously persecuted under FDR.

But he comes in and he's kind of the genius behind it all, and he says, you got to cut taxes, you got to cut spending. They do a little bit — they do quite a bit, actually. And things start to move in the right direction, right?

PIETRUSZA: They really do. You know, unemployment is 3.3 percent during Coolidge's six years and the gross national product increases by 7 percent, per capita income grows by 30 percent, real earnings up by 22 percent.


SHLAES: I think the point to make here is that it wasn't easy for Mellon and Coolidge and Harding before to get these tax cuts through. We think it is obvious, and now, it's impossible.

But they worked very hard. They wrote books. They sold them to people and, recall, at that time most people did not pay the income tax, so they were voting for tax cuts for rich people and that's a very hard sell for politicians. And nonetheless, it worked because Mellon and Coolidge actually believed in trickle-down. If the rich people paid less tax, they would invest more and there would be more jobs for regular people. It actually worked.

BECK: Go back a little bit and explain that because now, 50 percent of the country doesn't pay income tax. They actually get money back. What was the percentage that really was being hit hard?

SHLAES: Well, Glenn, even fewer paid income tax then.

BECK: Right.

SHLAES: And that's why it was said to be impossible to cut the income tax on the rich people that Wilson —

BECK: And they vilified — under Wilson, they just had vilified the rich, just exactly what's happening again now.

PIETRUSZA: Yes, when you lower the taxes, or when you actually get the rich paying more, oddly enough, because when they lower those rates in 1920, 15.4 percent of all personal income taxes are paid by those paying $5,000 a year or less, and when Coolidge leaves office in 1929, that's down to 0.4 percent.

When he leaves office, 98 percent of all people are no longer paying federal income taxes. They've been removed from the rolls. And the rich —

BECK: And it wasn't

PIETRUSZA: — the rich are actually, the fast cats, those earning over $50,000 — $100,000 a year, their percentage of bearing the burden actually almost doubles.

BECK: OK. So, now, we have them making the case that it's actually good — do you, guys, ether remember a really good sell? I mean —


SHLAES: Mellon wrote a book which was written with S. Parker Gilbert, his wise advisor, his Art Laffer, called "Taxation: The People's Business," making the case that poor people should care about high taxes because of jobs that weren't created when taxes were too high and he went out and stumped — and Coolidge went out and stumped.

So, if you go back, so you see a sustained campaign over several years and the tax rate was brought down to 25, which is a low for us. Even Reagan did not get down to 25. Low for us in our history, but not right away. What's important for us to know is that it was several years of legislative work before they got there.

BECK: OK. Now, the result — and this is why I said it's important for you to know. When Coolidge is sworn into office, he wasn't near a phone. He was sworn in by lamp light.

Most people didn't have a car. Phones were still unique. Air conditioning, all this stuff was very unique, but something happened. It's — in our history books, it's just treated as magical event — all of a sudden, people got greedy and rich, the Roaring Twenties.

And that's really, would you say — raise your hand if you think that we teach the Roaring Twenties or we view the Roaring Twenties, unless you start to do your homework, as a time that just magically happened and people got greedy, and they were all rich, and they were all flappers, and they all went to the Great Gatsby House and it crashed, right? Is that what you'd say — what we all learned now?

OK. So, that's pretty much it. The Roaring Twenties just didn't happen because of the government. They happened because the government withdrew.

Now, what happened in those —

PIETRUSZA: Coolidge does not create that prosperity. Coolidge lets the people create the prosperity.

BECK: Correct.

PIETRUSZA: And that's always the key.

BECK: Harding starts it and then Coolidge really cements it with Mellon.

PIETRUSZA: Yes, he single-minded, as Amity says, he's absolutely single-minded —

BECK: By the time he leaves office, tell me now what the country is like? Before, it's — nobody has cars, nobody has anything.

PIETRUSZA: Three times as many cars.

SHLAES: Three times as many cars, electricity in half the country.

BECK: Hang on. Hold on just a second. Let me take a quick break, because I want to go into some of the stats because I don't think America can understand the common man prosperity that came out of the Roaring Twenties. We'll give that to you next.





BECK: The roaring '20s — when we think of the roaring '20s, we think of — well, that — really, we think of people that are just living a strange, high life. We think of "The Great Gatsby" where people don't have any concept of reality. And then, the crash. That's not exactly true.

Back with us is David Pietrusza — he is the author and — historian and author of "Silent Cal's Almanack" and also a great book, "1920." Amity Shlaes, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and contributing writer to a new book, "Why Coolidge Matters." She's also writing a biography on Coolidge. And he's also the author of a great book. How many years has this been out?

SHLAES: 2007.

BECK: 2007. "Forgotten Man" — it's a fantastic book. OK. So we are left now with the roaring '20s. They cut all of the spending. They not only reduced taxes, but he reduces the spending by at least half, does he not?


BECK: Roughly, about a half.

PIETRUSZA: And he reduces the national debt.

BECK: OK. So he is totally transforming America back to where — closer to where our Founders —

PIETRUSZA: Fiscal solvency and getting out of the way so the government — the economy can grow.

BECK: All right. Now, we were talking how this transformed. You don't think — do not have to think of "The Great Gatsby." Let's think about how the lives of average Americans changed, and the lives of average Americans, 1920 — nobody really has a car.

By the time he leaves office, three times the amount of people — there are three times the amount of cars on the road, which was an expensive item. It's not that the price of cars necessarily came just — I mean, just dropping to the floor in price. But it was that people made money, more money, right?


SHLAES: Right.

BECK: Tell me what happened to income. Tell me the — what did the average person in the 1920's?

SHLAES: We hear about incomes. Real incomes went up. And what is interesting about the '20s is they didn't have inflation. They had low unemployment. The unemployment politely stayed below five percent in Coolidge's time. It was in the threes in Coolidge's time.

And yet, there was now inflation to speak of. And now, it is — economists say that's impossible, right? You hear, oh, the economy will heat up and so on. So it was a golden time when people earned more and their money was worth more.

And in addition to the cars, their houses were electrified. So that meant for women, especially, housework changed. Women could turn to other things. They didn't have to rub washboards all day.

They're doing cartoon Coolidge right now. And we have lots of drawings of women rubbing washboards and the drudgery of the day that they experienced hours and hours to bake, to iron. That ended when the appliance came into the home. And that was Coolidge.

BECK: Which is a very big deal, and that led to really some of this euphoria of — I mean, this was the first time that anyone in the history of the world that was an average person was able to have real leisure time.

PIETRUSZA: That's correct. And radio comes in. The movies are more and more popular. The average work week decreases by four percent, which, when people work six days a week and are trying to get that down, that is a good thing as opposed to being down four percent or 10 percent in 2010.

And the funding and things which Coolidge talks about — we are not just having wealth for wealth. We want to have wealth for education, for charity, for culture. These are the things which really speak of civilization.

BECK: We are encouraging that to happen -

PIETRUSZA: At the state level.

BECK: At the state level -

PIETRUSZA: Which is education spending increases in the 1920's four times. Now, there is no federal money. There is no genius on the Potomac doing this. It's the people in school districts and at the state level doing it. And they are getting the job done in a wonderful way. And illiteracy falls by half in that decade.

BECK: OK. We're going to stop here and we're going to take a break. And then, we're going to take you from 1927 to the Great Depression. What happened? It was going well. Is it that we have too small of a government? Back in just a second.


BECK: Back now with Calvin Coolidge biographer, David Pietrusza, and also Amity Shlaes. I noticed that David is wearing his Calvin Coolidge shoes. Where do you get a pair like that?

PIETRUSZA: I think around 43rd St., actually. Yes.

BECK: And also, Amity is also wearing Calvin Coolidge boots. These are his actual boots, right?

SHLAES: These are courtesy of the Forbes Library in North Hampton, Massachusetts, a wonderful library which has a museum of Coolidge's things.

BECK: OK. And I'm, of course, wearing my shoes. Nobody else has worn them. And this is actually his hat, too, isn't it?

SHLAES: Courtesy of the Forbes Library.

BECK: Yes. It says "Calvin Coolidge" on it. I have been freaking out the whole time because I don't want to spill anything on it. I was like — that stain is when we brought it out of the museum.

All right. Let me go to — let me go to Chris(ph) in the audience, because you have the logical question, Chris.

CHRIS(ph), AUDIENCE MEMBER: A lot of people believe that Calvin Coolidge would have been responsible for the Great Depression. What are your thoughts and what do you believe that he brought it around?

BECK: No. You say that because of the great — the overheating —

CHRIS: Right.

BECK: And the — and no regulation or very little regulation?

CHRIS: Right.

PIETRUSZA: A number of points. One, depressions were cyclical, continue to be cyclical. They came about every 10 years or so. And the question was not whether they would come or not, but what do you do to get out of them?

And in 1920, Harding gets us out. Coolidge gets us out. And 1930, we don't get out because of Herbert Hoover. I've read some interesting studies lately about Hoover talking about — harping on speculation which fueled the sales off in 1929.

And whether it's a depression or not, or a Great Depression, whether it would come back — unemployment had receded to six percent in June of 1930. Then, they raised the tariff, the Smoot-Hawley. Coolidge was opposed to that. They said, "Well, we can adjust it later." He said, "That is the worse thing you can do — create an uncertainty in an economy is the worse thing you can do. Don't do it."

BECK: Which is what we are doing now.


BECK: The reason why people are not spending their money is because — does anybody here in the audience think we are past the worst of it?

Yes. OK. If you're running a business, are you thinking, now is a great time to expand? Why? Because you know that, A, we are not past the worst of it. And why aren't we past the worst of it? Because you are not sure what the government is going to do next. And so they could change all the rules on us.

SHLAES: And one of the things that we used to mock was the phrase "normalcy," which is a Harding phrase. He wanted — what was that? That was so boring.

But now, we have a new appreciation of it. He said, "I don't want too much change so that we can recover from the wartime first and then the recession that they had. And Coolidge, too, believed in steadying the boat (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

He didn't fire the cabinet of Harding, even though Harding had been mired in scandal. He wanted, in so far it was possible, that continuity and little change that the economy could recover.

BECK: This is the —

PIETRUSZA: There is a question of, is the federal government responsible for the stock market? Is it responsible? And some people that say that's state of New York and that's Franklin Roosevelt.

BECK: OK. Here's what I think, America, I didn't understand, two or three years ago. When David said that depressions were cyclical — they were. It's the creative process. It comes up. It crashes. And it comes up and it crashes and it comes up and it crashes.

And we are having them about every 10 years. And we had had them every 10 years all the way along. As the economy started to grow and as we were becoming more and more interdependent, it would happen because people would invent something new and it would totally transform everything and it would crash.

That's why the fed was introduced — correct me if I'm wrong — because the argument to the American people, how they got it passed was they said, you know, all these depressions? They've got to end. We will be able to control it.

We will be able to make sure that the economy doesn't overheat. It doesn't get out of control, et cetera, et cetera. So you won't have these crashes anymore. Well, we've had them about every 10 years. I contend we made things worse by having the controls set in. All right. Back in a minute.


BECK: All right. We're talking about Calvin Coolidge and there's a reason for it. The guy changed America at the end of a progressive time with Woodrow Wilson, Harding and Coolidge and Mellon, changed America dramatically.

Is it Elizabeth? Elizabeth. You had a question.

ELIZABETH, AUDIENCE MEMBER: I was just wondering why they don't spend more time covering him in history class here.

BECK: Let me ask the historians. David?

PIETRUSZA: The new deal historians really dominated the market for probably half a century, but us conservatives are catching up now. They had to not only build up FDR. They had to denigrate Calvin Coolidge. And I think that's a big part of it.

BECK: Amity?

SHLAES: I think, you know, they didn't really pay attention to the economics of the '20s. In order to make the new deal look more necessary, as David is saying, if the '20s were all right, then the new deal wasn't as necessary as alleged. That's the problem.

BECK: You know, Amity, I have to tell you, your book "The Forgotten Man," and David "1920," I mean, opened my eyes to a lot of things that it just seems like — I mean, I am, as you know — in fact, I think, Amity, I haven't seen you since you wrote this.

You defended me in an article at one point and I thank you for that. As you know, historians — they've demonized you, guys, and they've demonized me. And what — in the article that you wrote, why did you say that they do that?

SHLAES: Well, the academy is a guild. They're a club, the teachers. And they're a nice club and they teach well. But they don't want new entrants. That is what a guild or a monopoly or a cartel is.

So when someone comes from outside and says, "I challenge you" and say, "Well, maybe here's another answer. Here's another program," they tend to bristle. That's setting aside right and left.

And for too long, we've had one franchise, one guild, professors with tenure from universities. And lots of people can write history. Journalists can write history. Radio hosts can write history. We can all learn history in a lot of different ways.

I'm working very hard now making a cartoon book of the forgotten man and a cartoon Coolidge to go along with the serious volume of Coolidge because people like graphic novels, too. And people who don't read 400 pages still learn. So we have to open it up a bit. That's what's happening.

BECK: Do you think — David, do you think this is changing the history? Because you just said —

PIETRUSZA: Absolutely.

BECK: Conservatives are taking it back.

PIETRUSZA: I think there are people popping up all over. Amity, Burton Folsom, Schweikert(ph) — I mean, they are coming out. And there is a market for it. You've helped create that market a great deal. You know, we owe you so much.

But it's a spontaneous outburst of conservative history and a hunger for it because people know they haven't gotten the truth yet.

BECK: Look, America — I mean, David you just said you owe me. No, you don't. Here is the thing — I went looking for the truth and I started with you. And I started looking for the truth because nothing made sense to me. Nothing.

I was like, "How did we get here? How did we get to a place to where we hate our Founding Fathers and the Constitution doesn't matter and everything else? How did we get from there to here?"

When you start reading history and not the history they have been jamming down our kids' throats for so long, when you look at alternative history, and the history — oh, that's great. You don't read that — and you read it, now, all of a sudden it makes sense.

Now, you say, but wait a minute. They say that is not true, but if I just put that one piece into history, all of a sudden, where we are is beginning to make sense. I can see how we got there. So I personally think that the American people know it in their gut.

They know. They know something's not right. And we haven't been taught the truth and they're seeking it. Continue to do so, America, because you are the keeper of American history. It is on your shoulders. Back in a minute.


BECK: If you think this show has been controversial before — oh, the next couple of weeks are going to be a wild ride, and I invite you to join me.

Next week, we are doing — is it two or three episodes? I don't know if we've gotten it down to just two episodes. It's called "America Revealed." It is the good, bad, and the ugly on the civil rights movement, the truth you have never heard before. Watch it. It's an important series.

And then, the week after that, I'll be down in Washington the whole week, getting ready for the event at Lincoln Memorial on the anniversary that Martin Luther King had a dream. 8/28 — that's a Saturday morning — August 28th, 10:00 a.m., Washington, D.C. We'll see you there.

From New York, good night, America.

— Watch "Glenn Beck" weekdays at 5 p.m. ET on Fox News Channel

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