Date: May 26, 1931
Location: Northampton, MA
(Original document available here)
Some of the younger generation the world over are complaining because they have to bear the obligations coming to them from the past. They assert that as they did not create such obligations they ought not to have to discharge them. They apply this reasoning particularly to conditions arising out of the war.
It would be wonderful if we could be relieved of all the mistakes and debts and enjoy only the wisdom and property of the past. Unfortunately that is impossible. We have to take the world as it is. The liabilities cannot be separated from the assets. If the new generation enjoys the advantages of the scholarship, inventions and accumulations of past ages it cannot successfully repudiate the charges with which the inheritance is burdened.
No possibility exists of restoring the world from the ravages of the war except by a long, hard, laborious process. Any concerted effort to seek a remedy in any other direction would result only in destroying the great values which now exist. There is no salvation in repudiation or confiscation. All past experience indicates that the youth of the world ultimately will recognize this and have the courage and character to provide the necessary reconstruction.
Citation: Calvin Coolidge Says: Dispatches Written by Former-President Coolidge and Syndicated to Newspapers in 1930-1931 (Calvin Coolidge Memorial Foundation)
The Coolidge Foundation gratefully acknowledges the volunteer efforts of Craig Eyermann who prepared this document for digital publication.