Calvin Coolidge Says, August 18, 1930

Date: August 18, 1930

Location: Northampton, MA

Summary: Coolidge discusses the political unrest in India. While he is supportive of eventual Indian independence, his opinion is that India should only become independent once it is “unified, educated, and equipped for self-government.” He voices broad support for the British Empire in causing India to “progress along that pathway.” This column, then, is a distillation of Coolidge’s opinions on colonialism and empire.

(Original document available here)

Our own interdependence and that of the rest of the world is emphatically exemplified by the present unrest in India. It has not only affected our direct trade in that region, but by reducing Indian imports of manufactured goods from England has reduced our sale of raw materials that would go into such goods, and by injuring British business has lowered its general purchasing power.

While we have every sympathy with the aspiration for self-government, we realize from the historical development of our own institutions that self-government cannot be conferred upon one people by another people, but must be acquired by long and painful experience. It is only of gradual growth through many intermediate grades, none of which can be omitted. When India is unified, educated and equipped for self-government it will come with benefit to all concerned.

At present the problem is how the people of India can best be helped to progress along that pathway. Undoubtedly the British Empire furnishes them with guarantees of order and stability which are their first requisites in working out their own destiny. Meantime, hope lies in such an adjustment of governmental and trade relations as will insure domestic tranquillity.

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 John Sullivan III who prepared this document for digital publication.

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