In 1924, the city of Cleveland was preparing for a gathering unlike any it had ever experienced before. After much debate, it had been decided that the Republican National Convention was going to be held in the Forest City. Set to take place in June 1924, this convention would start a new era of political conventions.
On August 2, 1923, the nation experienced the tragic death of President Warren G. Harding and saw a new face take his place. Calvin Coolidge was fairly unknown as the vice president and remained rather unknown throughout the rest of that year. His lack of publicity served the Grand Old Party (GOP) well. The Harding administration, after all, had faced a great deal of controversy which had guaranteed that he would be dropped from the ticket in 1924. The Teapot Dome and veterans bureau scandals caused the public to lose all faith in the government, but Coolidge's fresh face was exactly what the party needed to be able to restore the country's faith in their government as well as in the Republican Party.
When it came down to the convention that would nominate Coolidge, there was debate on whether it was going to be held in San Francisco or Cleveland. The deciding factor was a personal endorsement from Coolidge for the city of Cleveland. In tribute to the late President Harding, Coolidge gave his support to Cleveland for it was in Harding's home state. Besides said endorsement, Cleveland itself had a great deal to offer. The city had a brand-new Public Auditorium, which was near many excellent hotels and attractions, and was able to host 11,500 people.
The convention was the first to allow female delegates equal representation with men after women had received the right to vote in 1920. Special attention was paid to the comfort of female representatives. The party even created a special committee to accommodate the needs of women, including placing a hostess at every accommodating hotel in order to assist representatives. The convention was also the first to broadcast its proceedings through radio. WTAM broadcast the convention's speeches and other important elements as far as its signal could reach. There was also much spectacle given to the convention such as fireworks and boat rides given to delegates.
This convention in particular was somewhat of an enigma. Though there was a great deal of new and exciting things surrounding this convention, it is hardly mentioned as being influential. Although the convention provided a starting point for some aspects of modern-day conventions, the actual content of the convention was rather dry. At one point it was suggested that "the city open up the churches to liven things up a bit." There was relatively little debate on whom to nominate since the GOP had a great deal of faith in Coolidge. Consequently, there was not much to actually do. President Coolidge himself did not even attend the convention; he stayed in Washington, D.C., to continue attending to Presidential duties.
The convention provided a firm foundation for the elected presidency of Calvin Coolidge. Though he served during a time known as the "roaring twenties," his journey there was nothing of the sort. His legacy as "Silent Cal" followed by the devastation caused by the Great Depression would go on to replace the memory of the pathbreaking yet lackluster Republican National Convention of 1924.