Quotations – M


“No man was ever meanly born. About his cradle is the wondrous miracle of like. He may descend into the depths, he may live in infamy and perish miserably, but he is born great.”

Source: “Theodore Roosevelt,” on January 23, 1921. As found in The Price of Freedom.


“I see no need for a wife so long as I have my health.”

Source: Your Son Calvin Coolidge, January 28, 1900.


“Have faith in Massachusetts. In some unimportant detail some other States may surpass her, but in general results, there is no place on earth where the people secure, in a larger measure, the blessings of organized government, and nowhere can these functions more properly be termed self-government.”

Source: “Have Faith In Massachusetts: Massachusetts Senate President Acceptance Speech,” on January 7, 1914. As found in Have Faith in Massachusetts.


“If material rewards be the only measure of success, there is no hope of a peaceful solution of our social questions, for they will never be large enough to satisfy. But such is not the case. Men struggle for material success because that is the path, the process, to the development of character. We ought to demand economic justice, but most of all because it is justice. We must forever realize that material rewards are limited and in a sense they are only incidental, but the development of character is unlimited and is the only essential. The measure of success is not the quantity of merchandise, but the quality of manhood which is produced.”

Source: “Brockton Chamber Of Commerce,” on April 11, 1916.

Military Mentality

“I find in my own case that my privileges of free speech are a good deal curtailed , because I am President. I think that rule might well be taken to heart by the military men of the country. I don’t think there is any reason for taking seriously any suggestion that the country at the present time is in danger of being attacked. I know very well that we do not harbor any intention of attacking any one else. But I suppose that those who have on them the burden of national defense naturally dwell on it, amplify it, enlarge it, and emphasize it. I don’t know that they would be of very much value to the country if that wasn’t the case. But I do not agree with the methods that they sometimes employ. I don’t see why the press should take them very seriously.”

Source: “Press Conference,” on January 24, 1928.

Military Preparedness

“I am not unfamiliar with the claim that if only we had a sufficient military establishment no one would ever molest us. I know of no nation in history that has ever been able to attain that position. I see no reason to expect that we could be the exception.”

Source: “The Navy As An Instrument Of Peace,” on June 3, 1925. As found in The Mind of the President.

Military Spending

“You gentlemen are all familiar with the military policy. It seems to be the classic one of securing an appropriation for either the Army or the Navy. That policy doesn’t have very much effect around this office, nor I assume on the Congress, suggesting that our Army is running down in materials and personnel, and that the Navy is just ready to drop into the sea.”

Source: “Press Conference” on September 16, 1924.

“While I am in favor of very generous provisions for national defense, the weakest place in the line of national defense is at present the large debt of the country. ”

Source: “Press Conference,” on October 4, 1927.

“Navy yards, you know, really ought to be for the benefit of the Navy and the country. Yet, they are generally considered to be for the benefit of the locality in which they are located.”

Source: “Press Conference,” on February 15, 1929.

Modern Art

“Not long, I happened to visit an exhibition of modern pictures. It was held in Pittsburgh, and almost every European nation was represented — [the United Kingdom], France, Germany. Italy–the whole lot of them. And as I looked at those pictures, I felt that I could see through them, into the minds of the nations which had created them. I could see the torment out of which they had been born. If that nation’s psychology was still diseased, so was its art. The traces of neurosis were unmistakable. If, on the other hand, the nation was on the road to recovery, if its people were rediscovering the happiness which they had lost, the story was told in the picture, too.”

Source: The Real Calvin Coolidge, p. 115-116.

Moral Standards

“There is no moral standard so high that the people cannot be raised up to it.”

Source: “The Place Of Lincoln,” on February 12, 1922. As found in The Price of Freedom.


“If we are too weak to take charge of our own morality, we shall not be strong enough to take charge of our own liberty.”

Source: “The Reign Of Law,” on May 30, 1925. As found in The Mind of the President.

“Disintegration begins within. We are the possessors of tremendous power, both as individuals and as states. The great question of our institutions is a moral question. Shall we use our power for self-aggrandizement or for service? It has been lack of moral fiber which has been the downfall of the peoples of the past.”

Source: “Letter To the Vermont Historical Society, Montpelier.” January 18, 1921.

“A nation that is morally dead will soon be financially dead.”

Source: Adequate Brevity, p. 96.

Mother (Coolidge’s)

“Whatever was grand and beautiful in form and color attracted her. It seemed as though the rich green tints of the foliage and the blossoms of the flowers came for her in the springtime, and in the autumn, it was for her that the mountain sides were struck with crimson and gold.”

Source: Autobiography of Calvin Coolidge, p. 13.

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