Calvin Coolidge Says, December 29, 1930

Date: December 29, 1930

Location: Northampton, MA

Summary: Weakening or destroying political parties would cause people to have almost no voice in the government.

(Original document available here)

We cannot weaken or destroy political parties in the United States without weakening or destroying the rule of the people. The party system has been adopted because of necessity. It has been the most efficient instrument of maintaining free popular government. No other method is effective in putting into operation the theory of representation.

Under absolute monarchy the only way to change the government was by revolution. Gradually parties became a substitute for revolution. They provided an orderly and legal way for the people to express and enforce their will.

Some concerted effort is necessary to conduct a popular election. We require party platforms, expressed or implied. They are the party constitutions. The alternative would be the election of persons without any pledge and free to do what they wished. That would be destructive of representative responsibility and repugnant to a sovereign people.

Without platform pledges and parties to execute them, elections might determine who holds office, but the people would have almost no voice in the government. Those who support party organization and submit to party discipline are adopting the only course yet dis­ covered for orderly government by the people.

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 Jill Leavitt who prepared this document for digital publication.

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