Quotations by Coolidge, Calvin


Great ideas do not burst upon the world unannounced. They are reached by a gradual development over a length of time usually proportionate to their importance. This is especially true of the principles laid down in the Declaration of Independence. Three very definite propositions were set out in its preamble regarding the nature of mankind and therefore of government. These were the doctrine that all men are created equal, that they are endowed with certain inalienable rights, and that therefore the source of the just powers of government must be derived from the consent of the governed. If no one is to be accounted as born into a superior station, if there is to be no ruling class, and if all possess rights which can neither be bartered away nor taken from them by any earthly power, it follows as a matter of course that the practical authority of the Government has to rest on the consent of the governed. While these principles were not altogether new in political action, and were very far from new in political speculation, they had never been assembled before and declared in such a combination.

Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933) American lawyer, politician, US President (1925-29)
“Speech on the Occasion of the 150th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence” (5 Jul 1926)
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In its main features the Declaration of Independence is a great spiritual document. It is a declaration not of material but of spiritual conceptions. Equality, liberty, popular sovereignty, the rights of man — these are not elements which we can see and touch. They are ideals. They have their source and their roots in the religious convictions. They belong to the unseen world. Unless the faith of the American people in these religious convictions is to endure, the principles of our Declaration will perish. We can not continue to enjoy the result if we neglect and abandon the cause.

Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933) American lawyer, politician, US President (1925-29)
“Speech on the Occasion of the 150th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence” (5 Jul 1926)
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The meaning of America is not to be found in a life without toil. Freedom is not only bought with a great price; it is maintained by unremitting effort.

Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933) American lawyer, politician, US President (1925-29)
(Attributed)
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Little progress can be made by merely attempting to repress what is evil; our great hope lies in developing what is good.

Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933) American lawyer, politician, US President (1925-29)
(Attributed)
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We cannot do everything at once, but we can do something at once.

Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933) American lawyer, politician, US President (1925-29)
(Attributed)
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Colonel, never go out to meet trouble. If you will just sit still, nine cases out of ten someone will intercept it before it reaches you.

Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933) American lawyer, politician, US President (1925-29)
(Attributed)

To Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., on enforcement of Prohibition (1924). See also Coolidge.
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 8-Oct-13
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If you see ten troubles coming down the road, you can be sure that nine will run into the ditch before they reach you, and you have to battle with only one of them.

Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933) American lawyer, politician, US President (1925-29)
(Attributed)
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Recounted by Herbert Hoover as advice he received as Coolidge's Secretary of Commerce. Often quoted without the final "and you ..." section. See also Coolidge.
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 8-Oct-13
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Nothing in the World can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination are omnipotent. The slogan “press on” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.

Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933) American lawyer, politician, US President (1925-29)
(Attributed)

Unverified in his writings. Cited on the program at a Coolidge memorial service (1933)
Added on 10-Jan-08 | Last updated 10-Jan-08
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If you don’t say anything you won’t be asked to repeat yourself.

Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933) American lawyer, politician, US President (1925-29)
(Attributed)
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In the discharge of the duties of the office there is one of action more important than all others. It consists in never doing anything that some one else can do for you.

Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933) American lawyer, politician, US President (1925-29)
Autobiography (1929)
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July 4, 1776 was the historic day on which the representatives of three millions of people vocalized Concord, and Lexington, and Bunker Hill, which gave notice to the world that they proposed to establish an independent nation on the theory that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The wonder and glory of the American people is not the ringing Declaration of that day, but the action then already begun, and in the process of being carried out, in spite of every obstacle that war could interpose, making the theory of freedom and equality a reality.

Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933) American lawyer, politician, US President (1925-29)
Equal Rights (1920)
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The doctrine of the Declaration of Independence predicated upon the glory of man and the corresponding duty to society that the rights of citizens ought to be protected with every power and resource of the state, and a government that does any less is false to the teachings of that great document — false to the name American.

Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933) American lawyer, politician, US President (1925-29)
Equal Rights (1920)
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Industry, thrift and self-control are not sought because they create wealth, but because they create character.

Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933) American lawyer, politician, US President (1925-29)
Foundations of the Republic (1926)
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In the discharge of the duties of the office there is one rule of action more important than all others. It consists of never doing anything that someone else can do for you.

Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933) American lawyer, politician, US President (1925-29)
The Autobiography of Calvin Coolidge (1929)
Added on 5-Oct-12 | Last updated 5-Oct-12
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In the discharge of the duties of the office there is one rule of action more important than all others. It consists in never doing anything that someone else can do for you. Like many other good rules, it is proven by its exceptions. But it indicates a course that should be very strictly followed in order to prevent being so entirely to trifling details that there will be little opportunity to give the necessary consideration to policies of larger importance.

Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933) American lawyer, politician, US President (1925-29)
The Autobiography of Calvin Coolidge (1929)
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Often given as "One rule of action more important than all others consists in never doing anything that someone else can do for you" or "Don't do anything yourself that someone else can do for you."
Added on 11-Jan-16 | Last updated 11-Jan-16
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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 foundation will stand.

Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933) American lawyer, politician, US President (1925-29)
Commencement Address, Wheaton College, Norton, Mass. (17 Jun 1921)
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Prosperity is only an instrument to be used, not a deity to be worshiped.

Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933) American lawyer, politician, US President (1925-29)
Speech in Boston (11 Jun. 1928)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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Prosperity is only an instrument to be used, not a deity to be worshiped.

Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933) American lawyer, politician, US President (1925-29)
Speech, Boston (11 Jun 1928)
Added on 21-Jan-13 | Last updated 21-Jan-13
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