Calvin Coolidge quotes

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Calvin Coolidge

Birthdate: 4. July 1872
Date of death: 5. January 1933

John Calvin Coolidge Jr. was the 30th President of the United States . A Republican lawyer from Vermont, Coolidge worked his way up the ladder of Massachusetts state politics, eventually becoming governor of that state. His response to the Boston Police Strike of 1919 thrust him into the national spotlight and gave him a reputation as a man of decisive action. Soon after, he was elected as the 29th vice president in 1920 and succeeded to the presidency upon the sudden death of Warren G. Harding in 1923. Elected in his own right in 1924, he gained a reputation as a small-government conservative, and also as a man who said very little, although having a rather dry sense of humor.

Coolidge restored public confidence in the White House after the scandals of his predecessor's administration, and left office with considerable popularity. As a Coolidge biographer wrote, "He embodied the spirit and hopes of the middle class, could interpret their longings and express their opinions. That he did represent the genius of the average is the most convincing proof of his strength." Coolidge's retirement was relatively short, as he died at the age of 60 in January 1933, less than two months before his immediate successor, Herbert Hoover, left office.

Although his reputation underwent a renaissance during the Reagan administration, modern assessments of Coolidge's presidency are divided. He is adulated among advocates of smaller government and laissez-faire; supporters of an active central government generally view him less favorably, while both sides praise his stalwart support of racial equality.

Works

„The accomplishments of the colored people in the United States, in the brief historic period since they were brought here from the restrictions of their native continent, can not but make us realize that there is something essential in our civilization which gives it a special power.“

—  Calvin Coolidge

1920s, The Progress of a People (1924)
Context: The accomplishments of the colored people in the United States, in the brief historic period since they were brought here from the restrictions of their native continent, can not but make us realize that there is something essential in our civilization which gives it a special power. I think we shall be able to agree that this particular element is the Christian religion, whose influence always and everywhere has been a force for the illumination and advancement of the peoples who have come under its sway.

„Democracy is not a tearing down; it is a building up. It is not denial of the divine right of kings; it supplements that same with the assertion of the divine right of all men. It does not destroy; it fulfills. It is the consummation of all theories of government, the spirit of which all the nations of the earth must yield. It is the great constructive course of the ages.“

—  Calvin Coolidge

1920s, Equal Rights (1920)
Context: Democracy is not a tearing down; it is a building up. It is not denial of the divine right of kings; it supplements that same with the assertion of the divine right of all men. It does not destroy; it fulfills. It is the consummation of all theories of government, the spirit of which all the nations of the earth must yield. It is the great constructive course of the ages. It is the alpha and omega of man's relation to man, the beginning and the end. There is, and can be, no more doubt of the triumphs of democracy in human affairs than there is of the triumph of gravitation in the physical world. The only question is how and when. Its foundation lays hold upon eternity. It is unconcerned with the idolatry, or despotism, or treason, or rebellion, or betrayal, but bows in reverence before Moses, or Hamden, or Washington, or Lincoln, or the lights that shone on Calvary.

„Let us keep our desire to help other lands as a great and broad principle, not to help in one place and do harm in another, but to render assistance everywhere.“

—  Calvin Coolidge

1920s, The Genius of America (1924)
Context: This is the main thought which your presence here brings to my mind. Let us maintain all the high ideals which have been characteristic of our different races at home. Let us keep our desire to help other lands as a great and broad principle, not to help in one place and do harm in another, but to render assistance everywhere. Let us remember also that the best method of promoting this action is by giving undivided allegiance to America, maintaining its institutions, supporting its Government, and, by leaving it internally harmonious, making it eternally powerful in promoting a reign of justice and mercy throughout the earth.

„There were those in the South who would have been willing to wage war for its continuation“

—  Calvin Coolidge

1920s, Freedom and its Obligations (1924)
Variant: There were those in the North who would have been willing to wage war for its abolition
Context: We meet again upon this hallowed ground to commemorate those who played their part in a particular outbreak of an age-old conflict. Many men have many theories about the struggle that went on from 1861 to 1865. Some say it had for its purpose the abolition of slavery. President Lincoln did not so consider it. There were those in the South who would have been willing to wage war for its continuation, but I very much doubt if the South as a whole could have been persuaded to take up arms for that purpose. There were those in the North who would have been willing to wage war for its abolition, but the North as a whole could not have been persuaded to take up arms for that purpose. President Lincoln made it perfectly clear that his effort was to save the Union — with slavery if he could save it that way; without slavery if he could save it that way. But he would save the Union. The South stood for the principle of the sovereignty of the States. The North stood for the principle of the supremacy of the Union.

„No part of the community responded more willingly, more generously, more unqualifiedly, to the demand for special extraordinary exertion, than did the members of the Negro race. Whether in the military service, or in the vast mobilization of industrial resources which the war required, the Negro did his part precisely as did the white man. He drew no color line when patriotism made its call upon him. He gave precisely as his white fellow citizens gave, to the limit of resources and abilities, to help the general cause. Thus the American Negro established his right to the gratitude and appreciation which the Nation has been glad to accord.“

—  Calvin Coolidge

1920s, The Progress of a People (1924)
Context: The armies in the field could not have done their part in the war if they had not been sustained and supported by the far greater civilian forces at home, which through unremitting toil made it possible to sustain our war effort. No part of the community responded more willingly, more generously, more unqualifiedly, to the demand for special extraordinary exertion, than did the members of the Negro race. Whether in the military service, or in the vast mobilization of industrial resources which the war required, the Negro did his part precisely as did the white man. He drew no color line when patriotism made its call upon him. He gave precisely as his white fellow citizens gave, to the limit of resources and abilities, to help the general cause. Thus the American Negro established his right to the gratitude and appreciation which the Nation has been glad to accord.

„July 4, 1776 was the historic day on which the representatives of three millions of people vocalized Concord, and Lexington, and Bunker Hill, which gave notice to the world that they proposed to establish an independent nation on the theory that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.“

—  Calvin Coolidge

1920s, Equal Rights (1920)
Context: July 4, 1776 was the historic day on which the representatives of three millions of people vocalized Concord, and Lexington, and Bunker Hill, which gave notice to the world that they proposed to establish an independent nation on the theory that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The wonder and glory of the American people is not the ringing Declaration of that day, but the action then already begun, and in the process of being carried out, in spite of every obstacle that war could interpose, making the theory of freedom and equality a reality.

„Instead, we are able now to be confident that this race is to be preserved for a great and useful work. If some of its members have suffered, if some have been denied, if some have been sacrificed, we are able at last to realize that their sacrifices were borne in a great cause. They gave vicariously, that a vastly greater number might be preserved and benefited through them. The salvation of a race, the destiny of a continent, were bought at the price of these sacrifices.“

—  Calvin Coolidge

1920s, The Progress of a People (1924)
Context: In such a view of the history of the Negro race in America, we may find the evidences that the black man's probation on this continent was a necessary part in a great plan by which the race was to be saved to the world for a service which we are now able to vision and, even if yet somewhat dimly, to appreciate. The destiny of the great African continent, to be added at length — and in a future not now far beyond us — to the realms of the highest civilization, has become apparent within a very few decades. But for the strange and long inscrutable purpose which in the ordering of human affairs subjected a part of the black race to the ordeal of slavery, that race might have been assigned to the tragic fate which has befallen many aboriginal peoples when brought into conflict with more advanced communities. Instead, we are able now to be confident that this race is to be preserved for a great and useful work. If some of its members have suffered, if some have been denied, if some have been sacrificed, we are able at last to realize that their sacrifices were borne in a great cause. They gave vicariously, that a vastly greater number might be preserved and benefited through them. The salvation of a race, the destiny of a continent, were bought at the price of these sacrifices.

„I know that there is no better American spirit than that which is exhibited by many of those who have recently come to our shores“

—  Calvin Coolidge

1920s, The Genius of America (1924)
Context: But in cherishing all that is best in the land of your origin, and in desiring the highest welfare of the people of the old home, the question arises as to how that result can best be secured. I know that there is no better American spirit than that which is exhibited by many of those who have recently come to our shores.

„Whether one traces his Americanisms back three centuries to the Mayflower, or three years to the steerage, is not half so important as whether his Americanism of today is real and genuine. No matter by what various crafts we came here, we are all now in the same boat“

—  Calvin Coolidge

1920s, Toleration and Liberalism (1925)
Context: We must not, in times of peace, permit ourselves to lose any part from this structure of patriotic unity. I make no plea for leniency toward those who are criminal or vicious, are open enemies of society and are not prepared to accept the true standards of our citizenship. By tolerance I do not mean indifference to evil. I mean respect for different kinds of good. Whether one traces his Americanisms back three centuries to the Mayflower, or three years to the steerage, is not half so important as whether his Americanism of today is real and genuine. No matter by what various crafts we came here, we are all now in the same boat. You men constituted the crew of our 'Ship of State' during her passage through the roughest waters. You made up the watch and held the danger posts when the storm was fiercest. You brought her safely and triumphantly into port. Out of that experience you have learned the lessons of discipline, tolerance, respect for authority, and regard for the basic manhood of your neighbor. You bore aloft a standard of patriotic conduct and civic integrity, to which all could repair. Such a standard, with a like common appeal, must be upheld just as firmly and unitedly now in time of peace. Among citizens honestly devoted to the maintenance of that standard, there need be small concern about differences of individual opinion in other regards. Granting first the essentials of loyalty to our country and to our fundamental institutions, we may not only overlook, but we may encourage differences of opinion as to other things. For differences of this kind will certainly be elements of strength rather than of weakness. They will give variety to our tastes and interests. They will broaden our vision, strengthen our understanding, encourage the true humanities, and enrich our whole mode and conception of life. I recognize the full and complete necessity of 100 per cent Americanism, but 100 per cent Americanism may be made up of many various elements.

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„They came home with many decorations and their conduct repeatedly won high commendation from both American and European commanders.“

—  Calvin Coolidge

1920s, The Progress of a People (1924)
Context: The propaganda of prejudice and hatred which sought to keep the colored men from supporting the national cause completely failed. The black man showed himself the same kind of citizen, moved by the same kind of patriotism, as the white man. They were tempted, but not one betrayed his country. Among well-nigh 400,000 colored men who were taken into the military service, about one-half had overseas experience. They came home with many decorations and their conduct repeatedly won high commendation from both American and European commanders.

„The Negro community of America has already so far progressed that its members can be assured that their future is in their own hands. Racial hostility, ancient tradition, and social prejudice are not to be eliminated immediately or easily, but they will be lessened as the colored people by their own efforts and under their own leaders shall prove worthy of the fullest measure of opportunity.“

—  Calvin Coolidge

1920s, The Progress of a People (1924)
Context: This, of course, is the special field of usefulness for colored men and women who find the opportunity to get adequate education. Their own people need their help, guidance, leadership, and inspiration. Those of you who are fortunate enough to equip yourselves for these tasks have a special responsibility to make the best use of great opportunities. In a very special way it is incumbent upon those who are prepared to help their people to maintain the truest standards of character and unselfish purpose. The Negro community of America has already so far progressed that its members can be assured that their future is in their own hands. Racial hostility, ancient tradition, and social prejudice are not to be eliminated immediately or easily, but they will be lessened as the colored people by their own efforts and under their own leaders shall prove worthy of the fullest measure of opportunity.

„Let us cast off our hatreds. Let us candidly accept our treaties and our natural obligations of peace. We know and everyone knows that these old systems, antagonisms, and reliance on force have failed. If the world has made any progress, it has been the result of the development of other ideals. If we are to maintain and perfect our own civilization, if we are to be of any benefit to the rest of mankind, we must turn aside from the thoughts of destruction and cultivate the thoughts of construction“

—  Calvin Coolidge

1920s, Toleration and Liberalism (1925)
Context: It is for these reasons that it seems clear that the results of the war will be lost and we shall only be entering a period of preparation for another conflict unless we can demobilize the racial antagonisms, fears, hatreds, and suspicions, and create an attitude of toleration in the public mind of the peoples of the earth. If our country is to have any position of leadership, I trust it may be in that direction, and I believe that the place where it should begin is at home. Let us cast off our hatreds. Let us candidly accept our treaties and our natural obligations of peace. We know and everyone knows that these old systems, antagonisms, and reliance on force have failed. If the world has made any progress, it has been the result of the development of other ideals. If we are to maintain and perfect our own civilization, if we are to be of any benefit to the rest of mankind, we must turn aside from the thoughts of destruction and cultivate the thoughts of construction. We can not place our main reliance upon material forces. We must reaffirm and reinforce our ancient faith in truth and justice, in charitableness and tolerance. We must make our supreme commitment to the everlasting spiritual forces of life. We must mobilize the conscience of mankind.

„I do not fear the arrival of as many immigrants a year as shipping conditions or passport requirements can handle, provided they are of good character.“

—  Calvin Coolidge

1920s, Whose Country Is This? (1921)
Context: The laws of supply and demand, therefore, are adjuncts to immigration regulation. I do not fear the arrival of as many immigrants a year as shipping conditions or passport requirements can handle, provided they are of good character. But there is no room for the alien who turns toward America with the avowed intention of opposing government, with a set desire to teach destruction of government— which means not only enmity toward organized society, but toward every form of religion and so basic an institution as the home.

„Murder rarely goes unpunished in Britain or France; here the reverse is true. The same survey reports many times as many burglaries in parts of America as in all England; and, whereas a very high percent of burglars in England are caught and punished, in parts of our country only a very low percent are finally punished. The comparison can not fail to be disturbing.“

—  Calvin Coolidge

1920s, The Reign of Law (1925)
Context: When the local government unit evades its responsibility in one direction, it is started in the vicious way of disregard of law and laxity of living. The police force which is administered on the assumption that the violation of some laws may be ignored has started toward demoralization. The community which approves such administration is making dangerous concessions. There is no use disguising the fact that as a nation our attitude toward the prevention and punishment of crime needs more serious attention. I read the other day a survey which showed that in proportion to population we have eight times as many murders as Great Britain, and five times as many as France. Murder rarely goes unpunished in Britain or France; here the reverse is true. The same survey reports many times as many burglaries in parts of America as in all England; and, whereas a very high percent of burglars in England are caught and punished, in parts of our country only a very low percent are finally punished. The comparison can not fail to be disturbing. The conclusion is inescapable that laxity of administration reacts upon public opinion, causing cynicism and loss of confidence in both law and its enforcement and therefore in its observance. The failure of local government has a demoralizing effect in every direction.

„Yet in time of stress and public agitation we have too great a tendency to disregard this policy and indulge in race hatred, religious intolerance, and disregard of equal rights. Such sentiments are bound to react upon those who harbor them. Instead of being a benefit they are a positive injury.“

—  Calvin Coolidge

1920s, Ways to Peace (1926)
Context: Yet in time of stress and public agitation we have too great a tendency to disregard this policy and indulge in race hatred, religious intolerance, and disregard of equal rights. Such sentiments are bound to react upon those who harbor them. Instead of being a benefit they are a positive injury. We do not have to examine history very far before we see whole countries that have been blighted, whole civilizations that have been shattered by a spirit of intolerance. They are destructive of order and progress at home and a danger to peace and good will abroad. No better example exists of toleration than that which is exhibited by those who wore the blue toward those who wore the gray. Our condition today is not merely that of one people under one flag, but of a thoroughly united people who have seen bitterness and enmity which once threatened to sever them pass away, and a spirit of kindness and good will reign over them all.

„We need to keep our minds free from prejudice and bias“

—  Calvin Coolidge

1920s, The Press Under a Free Government (1925)
Context: The great difficulty in combating unfair propaganda, or even in recognizing it, arises from the fact* that at the present time we confront so many new and technical problems that it is an enormous task to keep ourselves accurately informed concerning them. In this respect, you gentlemen of the press face the same perplexities that are encountered by legislators and government administrators. Whoever deals with current public questions is compelled to rely greatly upon the information and judgments of experts and specialists. Unfortunately, not all experts are to be trusted as entirely disinterested. Not all specialists are completely without guile. In our increasing dependence on specialized authority, we tend to become easier victims for the propagandists, and need to cultivate sedulously the habit of the open mind. No doubt every generation feels that its problems are the most intricate and baffling that have ever been presented for solution. But with all recognition of the disposition to exaggerate in this respect, I think we can fairly say that our times in all their social and economic aspects are more complex than any past period. We need to keep our minds free from prejudice and bias. Of education, and of real information we cannot get too much. But of propaganda, which is tainted or perverted information, we cannot have too little.

„In such a view of the history of the Negro race in America, we may find the evidences that the black man's probation on this continent was a necessary part in a great plan by which the race was to be saved to the world for a service which we are now able to vision and, even if yet somewhat dimly, to appreciate.“

—  Calvin Coolidge

1920s, The Progress of a People (1924)
Context: In such a view of the history of the Negro race in America, we may find the evidences that the black man's probation on this continent was a necessary part in a great plan by which the race was to be saved to the world for a service which we are now able to vision and, even if yet somewhat dimly, to appreciate. The destiny of the great African continent, to be added at length — and in a future not now far beyond us — to the realms of the highest civilization, has become apparent within a very few decades. But for the strange and long inscrutable purpose which in the ordering of human affairs subjected a part of the black race to the ordeal of slavery, that race might have been assigned to the tragic fate which has befallen many aboriginal peoples when brought into conflict with more advanced communities. Instead, we are able now to be confident that this race is to be preserved for a great and useful work. If some of its members have suffered, if some have been denied, if some have been sacrificed, we are able at last to realize that their sacrifices were borne in a great cause. They gave vicariously, that a vastly greater number might be preserved and benefited through them. The salvation of a race, the destiny of a continent, were bought at the price of these sacrifices.

„We are, in some sense, an immigrant nation, molded in the fires of a common experience. That common experience is our history. And it is that common experience we must hand down to our children, even as the fundamental principles of Americanism, based on righteousness, were handed down to us, in perpetuity, by the founders of our government.“

—  Calvin Coolidge

1920s, Whose Country Is This? (1921)
Context: From its very beginning our country has been enriched by a complete blend of varied strains in the same ethnic family. We are, in some sense, an immigrant nation, molded in the fires of a common experience. That common experience is our history. And it is that common experience we must hand down to our children, even as the fundamental principles of Americanism, based on righteousness, were handed down to us, in perpetuity, by the founders of our government.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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