Calvin Coolidge Says, March 10, 1931

Date: March 10, 1931

Location: Northampton, MA

(Original document available here)

It is always easy to become impatient with the prolonged debates of the Senate. The people tolerate talk but they admire action. Nevertheless it would be dangerous for the Senate further to impair its character as a deliberative body. A good measure can stand discussion. A bad bill ought to be delayed. To give a check upon the popular House of Representatives the Constitution established the Senate to be more permanent, independent and conservative. The House was to protect the people against oppression. The Senate was to protect the people against disorder.

While the nature of the Senate has been changed by the direct election of its members, it has still remained a citadel of liberty because it has always contained a body of strong men who were able and willing to expose dangerous measures by adequate debate. Their arguments on the floor go to the country through the press. If they have real substance the people respond. Of course the power to debate can be abused. But it is safer to employ those who abuse power in debating than in voting. Open debate is the only shield against the irretrievable action of a rash majority.

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 Greg Harkenrider who prepared this document for digital publication.

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