Quotations – S


“We need wealth and science and justice in human relationship, but redemption comes only through sacrifice.”

Source: “The Power Of The Moral Law,” on October 11, 1921. As found in The Price of Freedom.


“I know very well what it means to awake in the night and realize that the rent is coming due, wondering where the money is coming from with which to pay it. The only way I know of escape from that constant tragedy is to keep expenses low enough so that something may be saved to meet the day when earnings may be small.”

Source: Autobiography of Calvin Coolidge, p. 94.


“The society which is satisfied is lost.”

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

Scandals, Harding

“If there has been any crime, it must be prosecuted. If there has been any property of the United States illegally transferred or leased, it must be recovered…. I propose to employ special counsel of high rank drawn from both political parties to bring such actions for the enforcement of the law. Counsel will be instructed to prosecute these cases in the courts so that if there is any guilt it will be punished; if there is any civil liability it will be enforced; if there is any fraud it will be revealed; and if there are any contracts which are illegal they will be canceled. Every law will be enforced. And every right of the people and the Government will be protected.”

Source: Quote in The New York Times, on January 27, 1924.


“Self-government means self support.”

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

“The normal must care for themselves.”

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

“Self-government cannot be reposed wholly in some distant capital; it has to be exercised in part by the people in their own homes.”

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

“Our country was conceived in the theory of local self-government. It has been dedicated by long practice to that wise and benificent policy. It is the foundation principle of our system of liberty. It makes the largest promise to the freedom and development of the individual. Its preservation is worth all the effort and all the sacrifice that it may cost.

“It cannot be denied that the present tendency is not in harmony with this spirit. The individual, instead of working out his own salvation and securing his own freedom by establishing his own economic and moral independence by his own industry and his own self-mastery, tends to throw himself on some vague influence which he denominates society and to hold that in some way responsible for the sufficiency of his support and the morality of his actions. The local political units likewise look to the States, the States look to the Nation, and nations are beginning to look to some vague organization, some nebulous concourse of humanity, to pay their bills and tell them what to do. This is not local self-government. It is not America. It is not the method which has made this country what it is. We cannot maintain the western standard of civilization on that theory. If it is supported at all, it will have to be supported on the principle of individual responsibility.”

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

“We demand entire freedom of action and then expect the government in some miraculous way to save us from the consequences of our own acts. We want the right to run our own business, fix our own wages and prices, and spend our own money, but if depression and unemployment result we look to government for a remedy.

“We insist on producing a farm surplus, but think the government should find a profitable market for it. We overindulge in speculation, but ask the government to prevent panics. Now the only way to hold the government entirely responsible for conditions is to give up our liberty for a dictatorship. If we continue the more reasonable practice of managing our own affairs we must bear the burdens of our own mistakes. A free people cannot shift their responsibility for them to the government. Self-government means self-reliance.”

Source: Calvin Coolidge Says, October 17, 1930.


“Selfishness is only another name for suicide.”

Source: Adequate Brevity, p. 96.


“. . . I soon found that the Senate had but one fixed rule, subject to exceptions of course, which was to the effect that the Senate would do anything it wanted to do whenever it wanted to do it. When I had learned that, I did not waste much time with the other rules, because they were so seldom applied.”

Source: Autobiography of Calvin Coolidge, p. 162.

“If the Senate has any weakness it is because the people have sent to that body men lacking the necessary ability and character to perform the proper functions. But that is not the fault of the Senate. It cannot choose its own members but has to work with what is sent to it.”

Source: A Autobiography of Calvin Coolidge, p. 163.


“No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave.”

Source: “Veto Of Salary Increase,” on February 4, 1916. As found in Have Faith in Massachusetts.

“. . . the possession of property carries the obligation to use it in a larger service.”

Source: Autobiography of Calvin Coolidge, p. 67.

“The principle of service is not to be confused with a weak and impractical sentimentalism.”

Source: Adequate Brevity, p. 98.

“Public acclaim and the ceremonious recognition paid to returning heroes are not on account of their government pay but of the service and sacrifice they gave their country.”

Source: “Veto Of Salary Increase,” on February 4, 1916. As found in Have Faith in Massachusetts.


“When I was a little fellow, as long as I can remember, I would go into a panic if I heard strange voices in the house. I felt I just couldn’t meet people, and shake hands with them. Most of the visitors would sit with Mother and Father in the kitchen, and it was the hardest thing in the world to have to go through the kitchen door and give them a greeting. I was almost ten before I realized I couldn’t go on that way. And by fighting hard I used to manage to get through that door. I’m all right with old friends, but every time I meet a stranger, I’ve got to go through the old kitchen door, back home, and it’s not easy.”

Source: Coolidge: An American Enigma, p. 25.


“In Washington I went to sleep pretty quickly, but if I had a hard problem on my mind, I would wake up in the middle of the night, and the tougher the problem, the earlier I waked up. Sometimes it was hard to go to sleep again. Of course, everything a President does is subjected to criticism. But I used to remind myself that the criticism probably wouldn’t bulk very large in the pages of history, and then I would reflect that the country seemed to be in pretty sound condition. So I would roll over and go to sleep.”

Source: Meet Calvin Coolidge, p. 190-191.

Social Dinners

“As we were always the ranking guests we had the privilege of arriving last and leaving first, so that we were usually home by ten o’clock. It will be seen that this was far from burdensome.”

Source: Autobiography of Calvin Coolidge, p. 160.


“My fellow countrymen have put me in situations where I have found I could not refrain from speaking.”

Source: Meet Calvin Coolidge, p. 9.

“I don’t recall any candidate for President that ever injured himself very much by not talking.”

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


“Nothing is easier than spending the public money. It does not appear to belong to anybody. The temptation is overwhelming to bestow it on somebody.”

Source: Quote in Readers Digest, June 1960.

The appropriation of public money always is perfectly lovely until some one is asked to pay the bill. If we are to have a billion dollars of navy, half a billion of farm relief, [etc.]…the people will have to furnish more revenue by paying more taxes. It is for them, through their Congress, to decide how far they wish to go.

Source: Syndicated column in New York Herald Tribune, on August 5, 1930.

“I would not want to be misunderstood. I am not advocating parsimony. I want to be liberal. Public service is entitled to a suitable reward. But there is a distinct limit to the amount of public service we can profitably employ. We require national defense, but it must be limited. We need public improvements, but they must be gradual. We have to make capital investments, but they must be certain to give fair returns. Every dollar expended must be made in the light of all our national resources and all our national needs.”

Source: “Meeting Of The Business Organization Of The Government,” on June 30, 1924. As found in The Mind of the President.


“There is a place, both present and future, for true, clean sport. We do not rank it above business, the occupations of our lives, and we do not look with approval upon those who, not being concerned in its performance, spend all their thought, energy and time upon its observance. We recognize, however, that there is something more in life than the grinding routine of daily toil, that we can develop a better manhood and womanhood, a more mature youth and a wiser maturity by rounding out our existence with a wholesome interest in sport.

“To those who devote themselves to this enterprise in a professional way and, by throwing their whole being into it, raise it to the level of an art, the country owes a debt of gratitude. They furnish us with amusement, with an outside interest, oftentimes, in the open air that quickens the step, refreshes the mind, rejuvenates and restores us.”

Source: A Speech in Washington, D.C., on October 12, 1924.

“All of the varied sports activities take people out of doors where they relax, recuperate and gain new interests that broaden and sweeten life. They afford an outlet for primitive instincts which otherwise tend to turn in upon themselves, with disaster to the normal development of the individual and at cost to society. Plenty of playgrounds and games is the best cure for youthful delinquency. Plenty of outdoor sports is a wise investment in good citizenship.”

Source: Calvin Coolidge Says, September 12, 1930.

States Rights

“The doctrine of State rights is not a privilege to continue in wrong-doing but a privilege to be free from interference in well-doing.”

Source: “Address At William & Mary College,” on May 15, 1926. As found in Coolidge and the Historians.

“We cannot improve the condition of the people or reform human nature by intruding the nation into the affairs of the states or despoiling the people of their business.”

Source: Calvin Coolidge Says, June 26, 1931.


“There is no right to strike against the public safety by anybody, anywhere, any time.”

Source: “A Telegram To Samuel Gompers,” on September 14, 1919. As found in Have Faith in Massachusetts.


“The measure of success is not merchandise but character.”

Source: “Speech To Amherst College Alumni Association,” on February 4, 1916. As found in Have Faith in Massachusetts.

“I do not think that men who look at every little part of the whole can ever be very successful. The day laborers never do any work quite so disagreeable or dirty as does the chemist or the physician yet the one is degraded and the other ennobled simply because one sees the relation and views the part in the light of the whole and is a head while the other sees only the part and is a hand.”

Source: Your Son Calvin Coolidge, p. 69.

“Success comes to people who are not considering the narrow question of what they are paid for, but the broad question of what they can do to be helpful. It is that attitude which leads to the promotion of the individual, the profit of the business and the prosperity of the nation.”

Source: Calvin Coolidge Says, August 1, 1930.

Survival of the Fittest

“The law of progress and civilization is not the law of the jungle. It is not an earthly law, it is a divine law. It does not mean survival of the fittest, it means sacrifice of the fittest. Any mother will give her life for her child. Men put women and children in lifeboats before they themselves will leave the sinking ship. John Hampden and Nathan Hale did not survive, nor did Lincoln, but Benedict Arnold did.”

Source: “Roxbury Historical Society,” on June 17, 1918. As found in Have Faith in Massachusetts.

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