Talk:Calvin Coolidge

From Wikiquote
Jump to navigation Jump to search


I've added a cleanup tag to this article for three reasons:

  1. Only one proper source is provided in this entire article (the one I just added). We should be able to get sources for most of these quotes.
  2. The organization could use some review. For instance, "The quotable Coolidge" is superfluous; the article itself is supposed to be quotable Coolidge.
  3. Dialog is mixed in without clear formatting or attribution. I was tempted to fix this, but I think the sources should come first, because they may provide the proper format.

~ Jeff Q (talk) 04:28, 11 August 2005 (UTC)

The quote referring to coming out of the burden of war is inadequately transcribed, and erroneously transcribed to include a (good) thought about education.

It comes from Coolidge's Thanksgiving Proclamation, as governor of Massachusetts, on November 27, 1919. I found it here:,+better,+more+secure+than+in+all+the+ages+past&source=bl&ots=XxIS2VKIA9&sig=KioOOtX8hmGZXlVs_fPq60ZqP6U&hl=en&sa=X&ei=IwH2VNq6O_K0sAT2oYGQAQ&ved=0CCYQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=condition%20of%20those%20who%20toil%20is%20higher%2C%20better%2C%20more%20secure%20than%20in%20all%20the%20ages%20past&f=false

The education clause is completely missing at that source.

Edarrell (talk) 18:55, 3 March 2015 (UTC)

But at this source, I find he borrowed his previous words, and added the education clause -- in a 78 rpm recording of speeches used by the Harding/Coolidge campaign in that era before radio was available. Edarrell (talk) 19:16, 3 March 2015 (UTC)

"all off the record"[edit]

I'm not sure about this attribution or misattribution, somebody check it

  • A reporter was granted a private interview with Coolidge. Coolidge read through the questions and answered each with "no comment". As the reporter was leaving Coolidge called out "Remeber, that was all off the record"

If it is not a real qoute its still important because it shows what people thought of him -- 04:03, 24 February 2006 (UTC)

A quick review of Barlett's and Oxford yield no results (although it did give me an excuse to source 4 other quotes and tweak a speech article on Wikisource). I guess we'll have to keep looking. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 07:03, 24 February 2006 (UTC)

Speech recording[edit]

Is there anything noteworthy to draw from Image:America and the War (Calvin Coolidge).ogg? Maybe some of these quotes come from it... I haven't been able to check. Bigbluefish 00:22, 6 June 2008 (UTC)


On government[edit]

  • There is an obligation to forgive but it does not extend to the unrepentant. To give them aid and comfort is to support their evil doing and to become what is known in law as an accessory after the fact. A government which does that is a reproach to civilization and will soon have on its hands the blood of its citizens.
  • The conduct of public affairs is not a game. Responsible office does not go to the crafty. Governments are not founded upon an association for public plunder but on the cooperation of men wherein each is seeking to do his duty.
  • There are among us a great mass of people who have been reared for generations under a government of tyranny and oppression. It is ingrained in their blood that there is no other form of government. They are disposed and inclined to think our institutions partake of the same nature as these they have left behind. We know they are wrong. They must be shown they are wrong.
  • There is a just government. There are righteous laws. We know the formula by which they are produced. The principle is best stated in the immortal Declaration of Independence to be "the consent of the governed".
  • Good government cannot be bought, it has to be given. Office has great opportunities for doing wrong, but equal chance for doing right.
  • Vermont is a state I love. I could not look upon the peaks of Ascutney, Killington, Mansfield, and Equinox, without being moved in a way that no other scene could move me. It was here that I first saw the light of day; here I received my bride, here my dead lie pillowed on the loving breast of our eternal hills.
  • Government cannot relieve from toil. The normal must take care of themselves. Self-government means self-support… Ultimately property rights and personal rights are the same thing… History reveals no civilized people among whom there was not a highly educated class and large aggregations of wealth. Large profits mean large payrolls.

On Money[edit]

  • "Collecting more taxes than is absolutely necessary is legalized robbery."
  • "Economy is the method by which we prepare today to afford the improvements of tomorrow."
  • "There is but a fixed quantity of wealth in this country at any fixed time. The only way that we can all secure more of it is to create more."
  • The method of raising revenue ought not to impede the transition of business; it ought to encourage it. I am opposed to extremely high rates, because they produce little or no revenue, because they are bad for the country, and, finally, because they are wrong. We cannot finance the country, we cannot improve social conditions, through any system of injustice, even if we attempt to influence it upon the rich… The wise and correct course to follow in taxation and in all other economic legislation is not to destroy those who have already secured success but to create conditions under which every one will have a better chance to be successful.
  • "I am cool because my name is Calvin Coolidge.

On being President[edit]

  • I can find no Constitutional authorization for this bill.
    • response after vetoing bills
  • We have enough laws already, I don't need to sign any more.
    • explanation for taking a vacation for the entire summer
  • There's no chance for job advancement.
    • after being asked why he would not seek re-election

On crime[edit]

  • I sometimes wish that people would put a little more emphasis upon the observance of the law than they do upon its enforcement.


  • visiting lady at the White House: Mr. President, earlier this evening, I had made a bet that I can make you say more than two words.
    Coolidge: You lose.
  • They criticize me for harping on the obvious. Perhaps someday I'll write On the Importance of the Obvious. If all the folks in the United States would do the few simple things they know they ought to do, most of our big problems would take care of themselves.
  • If you don't say anything, you won't be called on to repeat it.

On war and veterans[edit]

On word usage and meaning[edit]

  • I am not conscious of having any particular style about my writings. If I have any, it is undoubtedly due to my training in the construction of legal papers, where it is necessary in the framing of a contract, or the drawing of a pleading, to say what you mean and mean what you say in terms sufficiently clear and concise so that your adversary will not be able to misinterpret them, or to divert the trial into a discussion of unimportant matters. The rule is to state the case with as little diffusion as possible.

The quotable Coolidge[edit]

  • Duty is not collective; it is personal.
  • A man must eat. (when asked why he attends functions if he doesn't like talking to anybody).
  • I favor the policy of economy, not because I wish to save money, but because I wish to save people. The men and women of this country who toil are the ones who bear the cost of the Government. Every dollar that we carelessly waste means that their life will be so much the more meager. Every dollar that we prudently save means that their life will be so much the more abundant. Economy is idealism in its most practical form.
  • There is no dignity quite so impressive, and no one independence quite so important, as living within your means.
  • It is much more important to kill bad bills than to pass good ones.
  • Send the bill to the King of England. (said to a contractor replacing fire-damaged beams in the White House)
  • 45,000. I haven't caught all of them yet, but I've intimidated them. (when asked how many fish were in the river he fished)
  • There is no moral standard so high that the people cannot be raised up to it.
  • There is only one form of political strategy in which I have any confidence, and that is to try to do the right thing and sometimes succeed.
  • The people who start to elect a man to get what he can for his district will probably find they have elected a man who will get what he can for himself.
  • Prosperity is only an instrument to be used, not a deity to be worshipped.
  • The attempt to regulate, control, and prescribe all manner of conduct and social relations is very old. It was always the practice of primitive peoples.
  • The normal must care for themselves.
  • They picked the Vice President for Harding, and they chose a durned fine man. (on whether he'd try to influence the nomination of vice presidential candidates)
  • I don't recall any candidate for President that ever injured himself very much by not talking.
  • The measure of success is not merchandise but character.
  • "It is rather difficult for me to pick out one thing…The country has been at peace during that time. It hasn't had any marked commercial or financial depression…it has been a time of a fair degree of prosperity…there has been employment for everyone who wished employment…a time of marked peace in industry as between employer and employees…a large reduction in the national debt, considerable reduction in taxes." ~ on his legacy

Quotes about Coolidge[edit]

  • Isn't it past your bedtime, Calvin?
    • Groucho Marx, breaking character to address President Coolidge after he learned that the President was in the audience of their Broadway show.
  • [President Coolidge's] active inactivity suits the mood and certain of the needs of the country admirably. It suits all the business interests which want to be let alone… And it suits all those who have become convinced that government in this country has become dangerously complicated and top-heavy…
  • As president, Calvin Coolidge didn't do much of anything, but at the time, that's what we needed to have done.


Is there a significance to the bolded quotes, or are they bolded by mistake? King jakob c 2 (talk) 23:47, 4 April 2013 (UTC)