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CALVIN COOLIDGE


Picture of Calvin Coolidge
[Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division]

1872-1933

30th President (1923-1929), 29th Vice President (1921-1923)

Biographical Data
Religious Views
Quotations
References, Links, & Further Reading



Education: Amherst

Occupation: lawyer

Political Affiliation: Republican


Religious Affiliation: Congregationalist

Summary of Religious Views:

Views on Religion & Politics:


Quotations:

"Some people do not seem to understand fully the purpose of our constitutional restraints. They are not for protecting the majority, either in or out of the Congress. They can protect themselves with their votes. We have adopted a written constitution in order that the minority, even down to the most insignificant individual, might have their rights protected. So long as our Constitution remains in force, no majority, no matter how large, can deprive the individual of the right of life, liberty or property, or prohibit the free exercise of religion or the freedom of speech or of the press. If the authority now vested in the Supreme Court were transferred to the Congress, any majority no matter what their motive could vote away any of these most precious rights. Majorities are notoriously irresponsible. After irreparable damage had been done the only remedy that the people would have would be the privilege of trying to defeat such a majority at the next election. Every minority body that may be weak in resources or unpopular in the public estimation, also nearly every race and religious belief, would find themselves practically without protection, if the authority of the Supreme Court should be broken down and its powers lodged with the Congress." -- address delivered at the dedication of a monument to Lafayette, 6 September 1924

"Our government rests upon religion. It is from that source that we derive our reverence for truth and justice, for equality and liberty, and for the rights of mankind. Unless the people believe in these principles they cannot believe in our government. There are only two main theories of government in the world. One rests on righteousness, the other rests on force. One appeals to reason, the other appeals to the sword. One is exemplified in a republic, the other is represented by a despotism." -- speech at the unveiling of the equestrian statue of Bishop Francis Asbury, 15 October 1924

"But if we wish to continue to be distinctively American, we must continue to make that term comprehensive enough to embrace the legitimate desires of a civilized and enlightened people determined in all their relations to pursue a conscientious and religious life." -- Inaugural Address, 4 March 1925

"The fundamental precept of liberty is toleration. We can not permit any inquisition either within or without the law or apply any religious test to the holding of office. The mind of America must be forever free." -- Inaugural Address, 4 March 1925

"One of the most natural of reactions during the war was intolerance. But the inevitable disregard for the opinions and feelings of minorities is none the less a disturbing product of war psychology. The slow and difficult advances which tolerance and liberalism have made through long periods of development are dissipated almost in a night when the necessary war-time habits of thought hold the minds of the people. The necessity for a common purpose and a united intellectual front becomes paramount to every thing else. But when the need for such a solidarity is past there should be a quick and generous readiness to revert to the old and normal habits of thought. There should be an intellectual demobilization as well as a military demobilization. Progress depends very largely on the encouragement of variety. Whatever tends to standardize the community, to establish fixed and rigid modes of thought, tends to fossilize society. If we all believed the same thing and thought the same thoughts and applied the same valuations to all the occurrences about us, we should reach a state of equilibrium closely akin to an intellectual and spiritual paralysis. It is the ferment of ideas, the clash of disagreeing judgments, the privilege of the individual to develop his own thoughts and shape his own character, that makes progress possible. It is not possible to learn much from those who uniformly agree with us. But many useful things are learned from those who disagree with us; and even when we can gain nothing our differences are likely to do us no harm.
"In this period of after war rigidity, suspicion, and intolerance our own country has not been exempt from unfortunate experiences. Thanks to our comparative isolation, we have known less of the international frictions and rivalries than some other countries less fortunately situated. But among some of the varying racial, religious, and social groups of our people there have been manifestations of an intolerance of opinion, a narrowness to outlook, a fixity of judgment, against which we may well be warned. It is not easy to conceive of anything that would be more unfortunate in a community based upon the ideals of which Americans boast than any considerable development of intolerance as regards religion. To a great extent this country owes its beginnings to the determination of our hardy ancestors to maintain complete freedom in religion. In stead of a state church we have decreed that every citizen shall be free to follow the dictates of his own conscience as to his religious beliefs and affiliations. Under that guaranty we have erected a system which certainly is justified by its fruits. Under no other could we have dared to invite the peoples of all countries and creeds to come here and unite with us in creating the State of which we are all citizens." -- Speech before the American Legion Convention, 6 October 1925

"Although I had been rather constant in my attendance, I had never joined the church . . . . Among other things, I had some fear as to my ability to set that example which I always felt ought to denote the life of a church member. I am inclined to think now that this was the counsel of darkness." -- Autobiography, 1929

References, Links, & Further Reading: Books, Articles, Links


Books

Works by Calvin Coolidge

The Autobiography of Calvin Coolidge, Cosmopolitan Book Corp., 1929; reprint, The Autobiography Of Calvin Coolidge
Have Faith in Massachusetts; A Collection of Speeches and Messages, Houghton Mifflin, 1919; [2nd Ed.]; reprint, Have Faith in Massachusetts: A Collection of Speeches and Messages
Foundations Of The Republic: Speeches And Addresses, reprint, Books for Libraries Press, 1968
ed. by Edward Lathem, Your Son, Calvin Coolidge: A selection of letters from Calvin Coolidge to his father, Vermont Historical Society, 1968
ed. by Howard H. Quint, and Robert H. Ferrell, The Talkative President The Off-The-Record Press Conferences Of Calvin Coolidge, Univ. of Massachusetts Press, 1964

Biographies

Hendrik Booraem, The Provincial: Calvin Coolidge and His World, 1885-1895, Bucknell Univ. Press, 1994
Robert H. Ferrell, The Presidency of Calvin Coolidge (American Presidency Series), Univ. Press of Kansas, 1998
ed. by Carol B. Fitzgerald, Calvin Coolidge, Meckler Pub, 1988
Claude Fuess, Calvin Coolidge - The Man From Vermont, Little Brown and Company, 1940
Donald R. McCoy, Calvin Coolidge: The Quiet President, Macmillan, 1967; reprint, Univ. Press of Kansas, 1988
Amity Shlaes, Coolidge, Harper, 2012
Thomas B. Silver, Coolidge and the Historians, 1982; reprint, Carolina Acad. Press 1986
Robert Sobel, Coolidge: An American Enigma, Regnery, 1998
William Allen White, A Puritan in Babylon: The Story of Calvin Coolidge, 1938

Articles

Links

Works By Calvin Coolidge

Calvin Coolidge's Speeches (Calvin Coolidge.org)
Calvin Coolidge -- selected speeches (Hypertext on American History)
Calvin Coolidge: Selected Works (Humanities Web)
Document Library (TeachingAmericanHistory.org)
Inaugural Address (Bartleby.com)
Presidential Inaugural Address (American Rhetoric)
Authority and Religious Liberty (Founders Library -- founders.com)
Intervention in Nicaragua (International Relations Program -- Mount Holyoke College)
Calvin Coolidge -- audio (Vincent Voice Library -- Michigan State University)
Speeches by Calvin Coolidge (Library of Congress)

Biographical Sites

Calvin Coolidge [alternate site] (POTUS)
Calvin Coolidge (White House)
COOLIDGE, Calvin, 1872-1933 (Biographical Directory of the US Congress)
Calvin Coolidge (USA Presidents)
John Calvin Coolidge (1923-1929) (American President)
Calvin Coolidge (1921-1923) (Vice Presidents of the United States -- U.S. Senate)
Life Portrait of Calvin Coolidge (C-SPAN)
Calvin Coolidge: 30th President of the United States
Calvin Coolidge (Virtual Vermont)
Prosperity & Thrift: The Coolidge Era & the Consumer Economy (Library of Congress)
Calvin Coolidge Presidential Library and Museum
President Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site (Vermont)
Calvin Coolidge (Medical History of the Presidents of the United States)



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