Election Day Wisdom from Silent Cal

November 14, 2016

Recently our Foundation Chairman, Amity Shlaes, unearthed a Library of Congress audio recording of President Coolidge speaking about the institutions of our government. In the recording, the President says “the first duty of a government is to be true to itself. This does not mean perfection, it means a plan to strive for perfection. It means loyalty to ideals. The ideals of America were set out in the Declaration of Independence, and adopted in the Constitution. They did not represent perfection attained, but perfection found. The fundamental principle of freedom. The fathers knew that this was not yet apprehended. They formed a government firm in the faith that it was ever to press toward this high mark.”

For more than 200 years the people of the United States have worked for a more perfect union. As President Coolidge said, this goal has not yet been attained, but it remains our goal nonetheless. Through the democratic process we seek to perfect our union, giving the power of self-government not to autocrats and aristocracy, but to the people.

“In political affairs the vote of the humblest has long counted for as much as the vote of the most exalted,” President Coolidge went on to say in that speech. Truer words have never been spoken. Representative Democracy is the greatest form of government known to man. It certainly has its problems, but to paraphrase Winston Churchill, we have yet to divine a better way of ordering public affairs. Our job as citizens is to make sure our democracy continues functioning for the benefit of all, which is why we should all vote.

The Coolidge Foundation is a nonpartisan institution, we do not advocate any political causes or candidates. We do, however, work to educate the American people about the institutions of our democracy which Calvin Coolidge cherished so greatly. Our democracy will only work if our citizenry reflects deeply on its foundational precepts. In our small way we strive to further the progress of civic education to make our fellow Americans, and particularly young people, more active and engaged citizens. We hope you will do the same!5b1c25bf-3d76-4655-936c-28643c1f2224

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Coolidge Blog

Tige, the Presidential Cat, Goes Missing in A Snowstorm: Radio Comes to The Rescue.

By Jerry Wallace The Coolidges were both pet lovers. The President was particularly fond of cats, while the First Lady was partial to dogs. A pair of kittens arrived at […]

The President’s Son and the Railroad

By John Ferrell If historians were asked to list similarities between Robert Todd Lincoln and John Coolidge, they would quickly answer that both were sons of presidents from humble beginnings. […]

The President and the Railroads

By John Ferrell As president, Calvin Coolidge staunchly supported limited government and fostered efforts to reduce its size. The government, in Coolidge’s eyes, had “never shown much aptitude for real […]

The Burial of America’s Unknown Soldier of the Great War at Arlington National Cemetery, November 11th, 1921, with Thousands Participating in Two Distant Cities as if They were There.

By Jerry L. Wallace President Warren G. Harding speaking at the burial of the Unknown Soldier. On the platform with him are Mrs. Harding and Vice President and Mrs. Calvin […]