Date: August 8, 1930
Location: Plymouth, VT
(Original document available here)
Because of an endless struggle against the elements for the necessities of existence, it is natural to place great emphasis on material prosperity. While that attitude is proper and wise, we still should keep in mind that wealth is not an end but a means. We need it only for the use we can make of it. The real standard of life is not one of quantity but of quality; not of money, but of character.
Some day a sufficient organization, balancing productive output and consumptive need, will give us economic emancipation. But we have not yet perfected the formula. To blame the government or business for all present imperfections is like blaming Washington for lacking railroads, or Lincoln for ignoring aviation. Meantime we must live and learn. If we have unemployment, it must be remedied; if we have destitution, it must be relieved.
But the great realities do not depend upon prosperity. Getting a living is not the most important part of life. We can be just as loyal to our country, just as devoted to our home, just as faithful to our religion, without great earthly possessions. Even in charity, the widow’s mite still outranks the greatest foundations of the merchant princes.
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 Robert Manchester who prepared this document for digital publication.