Date: June 4, 1931
Location: Northampton, MA
(Original document available here)
The pulpit and the commencement platform frequently assert that our governmental and economic system is on trial. The inference is that it has failed.
When told that Christianity had failed Beecher said that it had never been tried. The same reply is applicable to criticism of our system. It has not been tried.
We live under a system of individual freedom and self-government where each individual is entitled to the rewards of his own foresight and industry and is charged with his own support. The only way to change this system is to restrict the freedom of the individual, let some one else govern him, give the rewards of his industry to others and make him support others. That system is slavery.
For two thousand years the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount have been preached. Because of ignorance and selfishness their teaching has not been fully accepted and adopted.
Our country has provided a system of government and economics. The same ignorance and selfishness have prevented its complete success. Our religious and social systems have not failed. They are sound. The failure lies in human imperfection. We need to grow in social and religious grace.
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.