Civil Rhetoric of Calvin Coolidge

National Council for History Education Conference, October 18-20, 2001 At the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, Washington, D.C.

Compiled by Donald E. Harpster, Chair, Arts and Sciences Division, College of St. Joseph, Rutland, Vermont

We do not need more intellectual power, we need more moral power. We do not need more knowledge, we need more character. We do not need more government, we need more culture. We do not need more law, we need more religion. We do not need more of the things that are seen, we need more of the things that are unseen. . . .If the foundation be firm, the superstructure will stand.

Vice presidential address at Wheaton College, Norton, Massachusetts, June 19, 1923

If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just power from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth and their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction cannot lay claim to progress. They are reactionary.

Presidential speech in Philadelphia commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, July 5, 1926

One of the chief requirements of the liberally educated of the present day is that they should contribute to a better art of living. There is an enormous opportunity in this direction, by example and precept, for the educated womanhood of the land. They have the power to set a standard which would be far-reaching in its effects. In number they are already considerable. They are increasing rapidly and they have an opportunity to wield a vast influence for good.

Vice presidential address at Wheaton College, Norton, Massachusetts, June 19, 1923

If we are to have that harmony and tranquility, that union of spirit which is the foundation of real national genius and national progress, we must all realize that there are true Americans who did not happen to be born in our section of the country, who do not attend our place of religious worship, who are not of our racial stock, or who are not proficient in our language. If we are to create on this continent a free Republic and an enlightened civilization that will be capable of reflecting the true greatness and glory of mankind, it will be necessary to regard these differences as accidental and unessential. We shall have to look beyond the outward manifestations of race and creed. Divine Providence has not bestowed upon any race a monopoly of patriotism and character.

Toleration and Liberalism,” a speech delivered before the American Legion Convention at Omaha, Nebraska, October 6, 1925