Calvin Coolidge Says, December 17, 1930

Date: December 17, 1930

Location: Northampton, MA

(Original document available here)

The world will be relieved at the reports indicating Spain is not to be involved in the catastrophe of a revolution and civil war. Although her jurisdiction over them has long since been lost, there are still many lands with many people who speak her language, follow her customs, look to her for cultural inspiration and regard her as the mother country. In that sense she still rules a great empire. Once she was the foremost power of the world.

It is difficult to determine why a people of so much ability, character and refinement could not hold their place. While many causes contributed, probably their chief weakness was the inability to cultivate and maintain the art of representative government. Failing that, they came under the influence of autocracy.

That appears to be the present trouble. The people have liberty and desire self-government, but they have no constituent assembly at hand experienced and strong enough to voice their requirements. The result is disorder and dictators. They will accomplish their reforms permanently only through an independent legislative body. The creation of true representative government took hundreds of years and many struggles among English speaking people. It cannot be improvised.

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 Frank Harder who prepared this document for digital publication.

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