Date: October 11, 1930
Location: Northampton, MA
Summary: Coolidge reflects on the meaning and significance of Columbus Day.
Since 1492 October 12 has properly been Columbus Day. But only of late it has been generally celebrated as a holiday. Such observance rests on a secure foundation. Measured by its effect on all following history, the voyage of Columbus, ending in the discovery of a new hemisphere, was an achievement of the first magnitude. Possibly others preceded him, but he was the first who made known the existence of America to European civilization. He is entitled to rank forever as the greatest of all explorers.
But the glory of his exploit, great as it was, becomes almost unimportant when compared with its results. It marked the inception of the modern era. The minds of men were opened to new thoughts. The gold and silver of America gave a new trend to the life of Europe. The arts began to flourish. The people began to assert their rights. More colonies brought more trade. A new age appeared, great in captains, admirals, statesmen, poets and philosophers, and finally new nations dedicated to human freedom arose on this side of the Atlantic. These are partly the reasons why Christopher Columbus is entitled to be honored.
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 Fr. Stephen Lawson who prepared this document for digital publication.