Quotations – R


“It consisted of the claim in general that in some way the government was to be blamed because everybody was not prosperous, because it was necessary to work for a living, and because our written constitutions, the legislatures, and the courts protected the rights of private owners especially in relation to large aggregations of property.”

Source: Autobiography of Calvin Coolidge, p. 107.


“I am very fortunate that I came in with the radio. I can’t make an engaging, rousing, or oratorical speech to a crowd . . ., and so all I can do is stand up and talk to them in a matter-of-fact way about the issues of my campaign; but I have a good radio voice, and now I can get my messages across to them without acquainting them with my lack of oratorical ability or without making any rhetorical display in their presence.”

Source: Meet Calvin Coolidge, p. 144.


“Sometimes the person is not well thought of and he is labeled as a reactionary. Sometimes if he is well thought of he is called a progressive.”

Source: “Press Conference,” on July 18, 1924.


“The attempt to regulate, control, and prescribe all manner of conduct and social relations is very old. It was always the practice of primitive peoples.”

Source: “The Limitations Of The Law,” on August 10, 1922. As found in The Price of Freedom.

“There is no justification for public interference with purely private concerns.”

Source: “The Limitations Of The Law,” on August 10, 1922. As found in The Price of Freedom.

“We have had many attempts at regulation of industrial activity by law. Some of it has proceeded on the theory that if those who enjoyed material prosperity used it for wrong purposes, such prosperity should be limited or abolished. That is as sound as it would be to abolish writing to prevent forgery.”

Source: “Associated Industries Dinner,” on December 15, 1916. As found in Have Faith in Massachusetts.

“You men who represent our industries can see that there is the same right to disperse unlawful assembling of wealth or power that there is to disperse a mob that has met to lynch or riot. But that principle does not denounce town-meetings or prayer-meetings.”

Source: “Associated Industries Dinner,” on December 15, 1916. As found in Have Faith in Massachusetts.

“We have got so many regulatory laws already that in general I feel that we would be just as well off if we didn’t have any more.’’

Source: “Press Conference,” on January 6, 1925.

“I am in favor of reducing, rather than expanding, Government bureaus which seek to regulate and control the business activities of the people. Everyone is aware that abuses exist and will exist so long as we are limited by human imperfections. Unfortunately, human nature can not be changed by an act of the legislature. When practically the sole remedy for many evils lies in the necessity of the people looking out for themselves and reforming their own abuses, they will find that they are relying on a false security if the Government assumes to hold out the promise that it is looking out for them and providing reforms for them. This principle is pre-eminently applicable to the National Government. It is too much assumed that because an abuse exists it is the business of the National Government to provide a remedy. The presumption should be that it is the business of local and state governments. Such national action results in encroaching upon the salutary independence of the States and by undertaking to supersede their natural authority fills the land with bureaus and departments, which are undertaking to do what it is impossible for them to accomplish and brings our whole system of government into disrespect and disfavor. We ought to maintain high standards. We ought to punish wrongdoing. Society has not only the privilege but the absolute duty of protecting itself and its individuals. But we can not accomplish this end by adopting a wrong method. Permanent success lies in local, rather than national action. Unless the locality rises to its own requirements, there is an almost irresistible impulse for the National Government to intervene. The States and the Nation should both realize that such action is to be adopted only as a last resort.”

Source: “Fourth Annual Message To Congress,” on December 7, 1926. As found in As found in Messages and Papers of the Presidents, p. 9624-9625.

“It is always possible to regulate and supervise by legislation what has already been created, but while legislation can stimulate and encourage, the real creative ability which builds up and develops the country, and in general makes human existence more tolerable and life more complete, has to be supplied by the genius of the people themselves. The Government can supply no substitute for enterprise.”

Source; “Education: The Cornerstone Of Self-Government,” on July 4, 1924. As found in Foundations of the Republic.

“Certain regulation is necessary, but a wise administration of regulatory laws increases greatly the employing power of the nation.”

Source: Calvin Coolidge Says, December 19, 1930.

“We need a better cooperation between business and government. It would be well to temper regulation with co-operation and season restriction with encouragement.”

Source: Calvin Coolidge Says, December 30, 1930.


“It was because religion gave the people a new importance and a new glory that they demanded a new freedom and a new government. We cannot in our generation reject the cause and retain the result.”

Source: “The Foundation Of Our Institutions,” on April 13, 1923. As found in The Price of Freedom.

“Religion has laid the foundation of government.”

Source: “The Price Of Freedom,” on January 21, 1923. As found in The Price of Freedom.

“We do not need more law, we need more religion. We do not need more of the things that are seen, we need more of the things that are unseen.”

Source: “The Things That Are Unseen,” on June 19, 1923. As found in The Price of Freedom.

“The whole foundation of enlightened civilization, in government, in society, and in business, rests on religion. Unless our people are thoroughly instructed in its great truths they are not fitted either to understand our institutions or provide them with adequate support. For our independent colleges and secondary schools to be neglectful of their responsibilities in this direction is to turn their graduates loose with simply an increased capacity to prey upon each other. Such a dereliction of duty would put in jeopardy the whole fabric of society. For our chartered institutions of learning to turn back to the material and neglect the spiritual would be treason, not only to the cause for which they were founded but to man and to God.”

Source: “Address at the One Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary of Phillips Academy,” on May 19, 1928.

“It is my own belief that in this land of freedom new arrivals should especially keep up their devotion to religion. Disregarding the need of the individual for a religious life, I feel that there is a more urgent necessity, based on the requirements of good citizenship and the maintenance of our institutions, for devotion to religion in America than anywhere else in the world. One of the greatest dangers that beset those coming to this country, especially those of the younger generation, is that they will fall away from the religion of their fathers, and never become attached to any other faith.”

Source: “To A Delegation Of Foreign Born Citizens At The White House,” on October 16, 1924. As found in The Mind of the President.

“A spring will cease to flow if its source be dried up; a tree will wither if its roots be destroyed. In its main features the Declaration of Independence is a great spiritual document. It is a document not of material but of spiritual conceptions. Equality, liberty, popular sovereignty, the rights of men–these are not elements which we can see and touch. They are ideals. They have their source and roots in the religious convictions. They belong to the unseen world. Unless the faith of the American people in these religious convictions is to endure, the principles of the Declaration will perish. We can not continue to enjoy the result if we neglect and abandon the cause.”

Source: “Third Annual Message To Congress,” on December 8, 1925. As found in Messages and Papers of the Presidents, p. 9581.

“If we wish to continue to be distinctively American, we must continue to make that term comprehensive enough to embrace the legitimate desires of a civilized and enlightened people determined in all their relations to pursue a conscientious and religious life.”

Source: “Inaugural Address,” on March 5, 1925. As found in Messages and Papers of the Presidents.

Religious Instruction

“If attendance on these religious services ever harmed any of the men of my time I have never been informed of it.”

Source: Autobiography of Calvin Coolidge, p .55.


“Under a system of popular government there will always be those who will seek for political preferment by clamoring for reform. While there is very little of this which is not sincere, there is a large portion that is not well informed. In my opinion very little of just criticism can attach to the theories and principles of our institutions. There is far more danger of harm than there is hope of good in any radical changes.”

Source: “Third Annual Message To Congress,” on December 8, 1925. As found in Messages and Papers of the Presidents, p. 9583.


“When I begin to get reports on matters it usually means that there is some question for my decision. When I do not get reports it means everything is going all right.”

Source: “Press Conference,” on August 14, 1928.

Representative Government

“We need forever to remember that representative government does represent. A careless, indifferent representative is the result of a careless, indifferent electorate.”

Source: “On The Nature Of Politics,” on May 12, 1915. As found in Have Faith in Massachusetts.

Republican Party

“The [Republican Party] , through its present declaration of principles, through the traditions which it inherited from its predecessors, the Federalists and the Whigs, through their achievements and its own, is representative of those policies which were adopted under the lead of Alexander Hamilton. They are the parties which have kept steadily in view the Union and the whole Union. They cherished it through the necessary compromises of Henry Clay. They supported it through the wise and patient statesmanship of Abraham Lincoln. Without their vision the Union would never have been formed. Without their sacrifice it would not have been preserved.”

Source: “Our Heritage From Hamilton,” on January 11, 1922. As found in The Price of Freedom.

“It is the doctrine of the Republican Party to encourage business, not merely for its own sake but because that is the surest method of administering to the general welfare. Those who criticize will be justified in their criticism when they can point out a better way.”

Source: “Our Heritage From Hamilton,” on January 11, 1922. As found in The Price of Freedom.

“Government under the Republican Party will continue in the future to be so administered as to breed not mendicants, but men.”

Source: “Norfolk Republican Club,” on October 9, 1916. As found in Have Faith in Massachusetts.

“The Republican Party will in the future, as in the past, ever stand opposed to the establishment of one class who shall live on the government, and another class who shall pay the taxes.”

Source: “Norfolk Republican Club,” on October 9, 1916. As found in Have Faith in Massachusetts.

Retirement from the Presidency

“People seem to think the Presidential machinery should keep on running, even after the power has been turned off.”

Source: Meet Calvin Coolidge, p. 191.

Revere, Paul

“He became a hero only because the land was filled with heroism.”

Source: “The Old North Church,” on April 18, 1923. As found in The Price of Freedom.


“Reverence…is the beginning of a proper conception of ourselves, of our relationship to each other, and our relationship to our Creator. Human nature cannot develop very far without it. The mind does not unfold, the creative faculty does not mature, the spirit does not unfold, the creative faculty does not mature, the spirit does not expand, save under the influence of reverence. It is the chief motive of obedience. It is only by a correct attitude of mind begun early in youth and carried through maturity that these desired results are like to be secured. It is along the path of reverence and obedience that the race has reached the goal of freedom, of self-government, of a higher morality, and a more abundant spiritual life.”

Source: “Authority And Religious Liberty,” on September 21, 1924. As found in Foundations of the Republic.


“If a revolution meant a cleaning up of a bad situation and the substitution of a stable, permanent and free government it would have some merit. But when it means only a loss of life and property in order to substitute a new regime that is no better than the old, it accomplishes no constructive purpose. That is the reason our people regard revolutions with so much suspicion. They do not consider them as productive of genuine reform.”

Source: Calvin Coolidge Says, August 25, 1930.


“The individual has rights, but only the citizen has the power to protect rights. And the protection of rights is righteous.”

Source: “Andrew Carnegie: Organizer For Service,” on April 28, 1921. As found in The Price of Freedom.

“If ever the citizen comes to feel that our government does not protect him in the free and equal assertion of his rights at home and abroad, he will withdraw his allegiance from that government, as he ought to, and bestow it on some more worthy object.”

Source: “Andrew Carnegie: Organizer For Service,” on April 28, 1921. As found in The Price of Freedom.

“There is no such thing as liberty without restraint. My rights are always represented by the duties of others. My freedom is always represented by the obedience of others. Their rights and their freedom are represented by my duties and my obedience. […] Any attempt to maintain rights, to secure freedom and liberty for ourselves without the observance of duties and the rendering of obedience toward others, is a contradiction of terms. It defeats itself.”

Source: “The Needs Of Education,” on December 21, 1922. As found in The Price of Freedom.


“It comes down to this: Russia has a right to her Soviets or whatever she wants, so long as she doesn’t disturb us. But to send a million dollars and a hundred agitators to China or to the United States is as much a making of war as would be the sending of an army.”

Source: Meet Calvin Coolidge, p. 178.

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