Date: May 20, 1931
Location: Northampton, MA
(Original document available here)
One of our great business associations estimates the national wealth, according to the latest returns, for 1929, at three hundred and sixty-one billion dollars. Of this great sum it is well known that a generous proportion depends on order and security. Perhaps those are the chief assets of the nation.
It is for that reason that it is forever necessary to guard the honor and integrity of the government from the top to the bottom. Much of our property is intangible, consisting of credits and contracts. These would become valueless without the support of law and order and leave the country prostrate with only the empty and useless shell of commerce and industry. Russia passed through that experience.
When the law fails of execution, when the conduct of the government is hampered by dishonesty and corruption, when crime is prevalent, the value of property is reduced, the area of the slums is widened, ignorance becomes more dense and the poverty of the people is increased. We are a rich nation, but our citizens cannot afford to be complacent about violations of the law or laxity in their government. Our whole credit structure rests on the general power to enforce the law.
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.