On the Election Day Duties of Citizenship

President Coolidge filling out his own absentee ballot to vote in his hometown elections, 1924.

President Coolidge filling out his own absentee ballot to vote in his hometown elections, 1924.

“The right action of all of us is made up of the right action of each one of us. Unless each of us is determined to meet the duty that comes to us, we can have no right to expect that others will meet the duties that come to them. Certainly we cannot expect them so to act as to save us from the consequences of having failed to act. The immediate and pressing obligation for tomorrow is that each one of us who is qualified shall vote. That is a function which cannot be delegated, which cannot be postponed. The opportunity will never arise again. If the individual fails to discharge that obligation, the whole nation will suffer a loss from that neglect…

“If the time comes when our citizens fail to respond to their right and duty, individually and collectively, intelligently and effectively at the ballot box on election day, I do not know what form of government will be substituted for that which we at present have the opportunity to enjoy, but I do know it will no longer be a rule of the people, it will no longer be self government. The people of our country are sovereign. If they do not vote they abdicate that sovereignty, and they may be entirely sure that if they relinquish it other forces will seize it, and if they fail to govern themselves some other power will rise up to govern them. The choice is always before them, whether they will be slaves or whether they will be free. The only way to be free is to exercise actively and energetically the privileges, and discharge faithfully the duties which make freedom. It is not to be secured by passive resistance. It is the result of energy and action.

“To live up to the full measure of citizenship in this nation requires not only action, but it requires intelligent action. It is necessary to secure information and to acquire education. The background of our citizenship is the meeting house and the school house, the place of religious worship and the place of intellectual training. But we cannot abandon our education at the school house door. We have to keep it up through life. A political campaign can be justified only on the grounds that it enables the citizens to become informed as to what policies are best for themselves and for their country, in order that they may vote to elect those who from their past record and present professions they know will put such policies into effect. The purpose of a campaign is to send an intelligent and informed voter to the ballot box. All the speeches, all the literature, all the organization, all the effort, all the time and all the money, which are not finally registered on election day, are wasted.

“We are always confronted with the question of whether we wish to be ruled by all the people or a part of the people, by the minority or the majority; whether we wish our elections to be dominated by those who have been misled, through the presentation of half truths, into the formation of hasty, illogical and unsound conclusions; or whether we wish those to determine the course of our Government who have through due deliberation and careful consideration of all the factors involved reached a sound and mature conclusion. We shall always have with us an element of discontent, an element inspired with more zeal than knowledge. They will always be active and energetic, and they seldom fail to vote on election day. But the people at large in this country are not represented by them. They are greatly in the minority. But their number is large enough to be a decisive factor in many elections, unless it is offset by the sober second thought of the people who have something at stake, whether it be earnings from in vestment or from employment, who are considering not only their own welfare, but the welfare of their children and of coming generations. Our institutions never contemplated that the conduct of this country, the direction of its affairs, the adoption of its policies, the maintenance of its principles, should be decided by a minority moved in part by self-interest and prejudice. They were framed on the theory that decisions would be made by the great body of voters inspired by patriotic motives. Faith in the people does not mean faith in a part of the people. It means faith in all the people. Our country is always safe when decisions are made by a majority of those who are entitled to vote. It is always in peril when decisions are made by a minority…

“But the right to vote is conferred upon our citizens not only that they may exercise it for their own benefit, but in order that they may exercise it also for the benefit of others. Persons who have the right to vote are trustees for the benefit of their country and their countrymen. They have no right to say they do not care. They must care! They have no right to say that whatever the result of the election they can get along. They must remember that their country and their countrymen cannot get along, cannot remain sound, cannot preserve its institutions, cannot protect its citizens, cannot maintain its place in the world, unless those who have the right to vote do sustain and do guide the course of public affairs by the thoughtful exercise of that right on election day. They do not hold a mere privilege to be exercised or not, as passing fancy may move them. They are charged with a great trust, one of the most important and most solemn which can be given into the keeping of an American citizen. It should be discharged thoughtfully and seriously, in accordance with its vast importance.

I therefore urge upon all the voters of our country, without reference to party…that they approach the ballot box in the spirit that they would approach a sacrament, and there, disregarding all appeals to passion and prejudice, dedicating themselves truly and wholly to the welfare of their country, they make their choice of public officers solely in the light of their own conscience. When an election is so held, when a choice is so made, it results in the real rule of the people…” — President Calvin Coolidge, over radio hookup from the White House, November 3, 1924.

 

Presenting the Roosevelt Medal, June 2, 1924

The Roosevelt Memorial Association Medal, bronze by renowned sculptor James Earle Fraser, 1920.

The Roosevelt Memorial Association Medal, bronze by renowned sculptor James Earle Fraser, 1920.

Presenting that year’s foremost award of the Roosevelt Memorial Association, the ceremony began in the East Room of the White House. President Coolidge honored the three men chosen by their service in the areas of law, statesmanship and education who most exemplified the tenacious spirit and tireless sense of service embodied by the late Theodore Roosevelt. They were Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Harvard University’s President-Emeritus Charles W. Eliot, and elder statesman-diplomat Elihu Root. President Eliot, unable to attend, was represented by his friend, philanthropist and financier Jerome D. Greene.

The President first turned to Justice Holmes, saying, “In peace and in war, as a soldier and as a jurist, you have won the gratitude of a nation by your uniformly gracious and patriotic devotion of great talent to its service. One can but well feel very confident that President Roosevelt would have been peculiarly gratified to know that this distinction was to be conferred upon you. This medal will be to you as a testimony to the universal recognition of your great public contributions.”

Presenting the next medal to Mr. Greene, President Eliot’s representative, Coolidge reflected on the great educator’s work, “In making its selection the Committee of Awards has but vindicated the judgment that your countrymen everywhere would have pronounced, if as a body they could have been permitted to make this award. Yours has been a true and an especially impressive conception of the great business of living. Premier for many years among educational leaders, you have maintained standards in which in that field we cannot imagine the future will have reason to question or alter. You have been a guide in your time, and a prophet of our future.”

Turning at last to the final recipient of the award, the President spoke to Elihu Root, “Your career of public service has been among the longest, most noted and varied in our American public life. It has made you known as a scholar, lawyer, statesman and a patriot. You have made America more American and humanity more humane. You have made more secure the peace of nations, and more certain justice among men.”

For a man not given to effusive praise, these are high commendations indeed. Coolidge’s words reflect more than just a politician’s pursuit of favor, they rest upon sober observations of men and what makes for authentic greatness. For Coolidge, it rested eternally on the principle of service.

When the ceremony was done, the party stepped outside to mark the occasion with photographs. Here the gathered fills the White House steps as they descend to the President and the three exceptional Americans honored on that day.

When the ceremony was done, the party stepped outside to mark the occasion with photographs. Here they fill the White House steps as it descends to the President and the three exceptional Americans honored on that day. The late Teddy Roosevelt’s son, also a Theodore, stands second from left in the second row from the bottom.

On the First Great Communicator

Calvin Coolidge with PallophotophonePresident Coolidge Being Filmed  10635805_10201795485843742_4774895272329756774_n

Here is one of the earliest official uses of the pallophotophone, which recorded the voice for playing in conjunction with film, Vice President Coolidge on December 13, 1922. The second photo depicts then-President Coolidge being filmed for news reels. Together with his masterful use of the medium of radio, adept handling of the press, and potent talents as the last President to compose all of his own speeches, Coolidge is genuinely the first Great Communicator. It is readily apparent where a young teenager named “Dutch” in Dixon, Illinois, would derive profound inspiration in the years to come.

On Industriousness

Portrait of Calvin Coolidge

“It is a very old saying that you never can tell what you can do until you try. The more I see of life the more I am convinced of the wisdom of that observation. Surprisingly few men are lacking in capacity, but they fail because they are lacking in application. Either they never learn how to work, or, having learned, they are too indolent to apply themselves with the seriousness and the attention that is necessary to solve important problems. Any reward that is worth having only comes to the industrious. The success which is made in any walk of life is measured almost exactly by the amount of hard work that is put into it” — Calvin Coolidge (The Autobiography, p.171).

Father and son at Camp Devens, August 30, 1925

President Coolidge Saluting Soldier

Photographed here is a father returning the salute of his son, Corporal John Coolidge, at the Civilian Military Training Corps out of Camp Devens, Massachusetts. When asked about his eldest, and only remaining, son’s academic future in one of his weekly press conferences, the President responded with a characteristic mixture of fatherly protectiveness and unyielding self-effacement, the latter quality he expected of both his boys. “I have already suggested to the press that I didn’t regard his actions as necessarily to be reported in the press, but of course if the press wants to report them there is nothing I can do about it. I don’t object to it especially, but I don’t think it is particularly a good thing for the boy. I don’t think it is a particularly good thing for the other boys in the country. There isn’t the slightest foundation for the report that appeared the other day that he is going to West Point.

PRESS: Annapolis, Mr. President?

PRESIDENT: No, No. There was a report that made a categorical statement that he was going to West Point. That was followed in the course of two or three days by another that he was going to the Naval Academy. Either one of those could have been verified by simple inquiry at the office, if there was a desire to find out the truth. There was no foundation that I know of for either suggestion. He is going to Amherst College. I don’t think that that is a matter of enough public importance to justify any newspaper notice. He is doing the same as some hundreds of thousands of other young men that are going to take up their studies again when school opens” (The Talkative President, p.43).

Coolidge seems to have regretted his decision early in life not to have enlisted in the service during the brief war with Spain (letter to Colonel Coolidge on September 9, 1898, cited in Your Son, Calvin Coolidge, p.94). He would not allow his sons to rest on family name or privilege, however. Freedom, like responsibility, carries a price, Coolidge knew, and John would have the benefit he never had, receiving a basic military training, strengthening the young man’s sense of prepared citizenship. Still, it was not easy being John. To paraphrase President Coolidge, it costs a great deal to be a President’s family.

On The Myth of American Isolationism

President Coolidge meets President Machado of Cuba, January 1928, during the Pan-American Conference in Havana.

President Coolidge meets President Machado of Cuba, January 1928, during the Pan-American Conference in Havana.

Coolidge meeting with a Knights of Columbus delegation there to discuss religious freedoms in Mexico, at the summer White House, Adirondacks, 1926. From L to R, they are: Pictured left to right are Supreme Advocate Luke E. Hart, Deputy Supreme Knight Martin Carmody, Supreme Knight James A. Flaherty, President Coolidge, Supreme Secretary William J. McGinley, Supreme Director William C. Prout, and Assistant Supreme Secretary John Conway.

Coolidge is seen here meeting with a Knights of Columbus delegation to discuss religious freedoms in Mexico, at the summer White House, Adirondacks, 1926. From L to R, they are: Supreme Advocate Luke E. Hart, Deputy Supreme Knight Martin Carmody, Supreme Knight James A. Flaherty, President Coolidge, Supreme Secretary William J. McGinley, Supreme Director William C. Prout, and Assistant Supreme Secretary John Conway.

President Coolidge in color, flanked by elder statesman-diplomat Elihu Root and Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes. Courtesy of Granger from Fine Art America.

President Coolidge in color, flanked on his right by elder statesman-diplomat Elihu Root, who was dispatched to Europe to work out the World Court issue, and on his left by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes. The President is presenting the Roosevelt Medal to them at the White House, June 2, 1924. Courtesy of Granger from Fine Art America.

Professor Bear F. Braumoeller, a renowned statistician and researcher on international relations from Ohio State University, has a well-researched essay published four years ago in Foreign Policy Analysis refuting the gravely mistaken notion that America in the 1920s, especially during the Harding and Coolidge years, succumbed to isolationism. The caricature of the United States behaving like an ostrich burying its head in the sand has so conveniently conformed to what is accepted historical narrative that a consideration of what actually happened simply gets in the way. “Scholars,” a term I use loosely here, have simply not done their homework. Instead, as Dr. Braumoeller reveals, too many have echoed each other without bothering to account for the facts in the record, despite how irreconcilable they remain from the neatly packaged mischaracterization of the 1920s handed down all these years.

Professor Braumoeller answers the weak arguments made to “prove” the 1920s were isolationist — from rejecting participation in the League of Nations to the Neutrality Laws in the 1930s. He discusses the Washington Conference in 1921-1922, the Ruhr occupation and the Dawes Plan, the “Peace Ultimatum” of 1925, and Kellogg-Briand Pact as just a few of the best known examples illustrating America’s active participation in world affairs. This only scratches the surface as the decade included the Locarno Treaty, officially establishing international relations on law and arbitration rather than military coercion, the Red Line Agreement concerning the settlement of oil development in Turkey, a Panama Canal treaty, the Tacna-Arica border arbitration, intervention in Nicaragua, response to the Philippine Independence resolution, the Geneva Conference, participation in maintaining China’s Open Door Policy, removal of the Roosevelt Corollary from the Monroe Doctrine, restoration of religious and property rights in Mexico, the Pan-American Goodwill Flight and the Pan-American Conference in Havana, just to name a few — all of which were carried out by the Coolidge administration. It is an unfortunate, yet avoidable, loss to accept the premise that the 1920s were naively isolationist and thus holds no lessons worthy of our attention. Instead of hastening from Wilson to F.D.R., we would do well to stop and study the Twenties. Times of war are hardly the only occasions from which to learn. After all, despite what some seem to believe, tanks and troop deployments are not the only kind of involvement there is in world affairs. It is misleading in the extreme to presume that if Americans are not marching armies all over the world, we are somehow deficient in our responsibilities. There is much to instruct us from times of peace.

President Coolidge signs the Kellogg-Briand Pact, January 17, 1929, East Room of the White House.

President Coolidge signs the Kellogg-Briand Pact, January 17, 1929, East Room of the White House.

Members of the Pan American Conference to assemble in Havana, standing here on the grounds of the White House. L to R, they are: Judge Morgan J. O'Brien, New York; Charles Evans Hughes; Secretary of State Kellogg; President Coolidge; Henry P. Fletcher, American Ambassador to Italy; former Senator Oscar W. Underwood; Dr. James Scott Brown, Washington; and Dr. L. S. Rowe of the Pan American Union.

Members of the Pan American Conference to assemble in Havana, standing here on the grounds of the White House. L to R, they are: Judge Morgan J. O’Brien, New York; Charles Evans Hughes; Secretary of State Kellogg; President Coolidge; Henry P. Fletcher, American Ambassador to Italy; former Senator Oscar W. Underwood; Dr. James Scott Brown, Washington; and Dr. L. S. Rowe of the Pan American Union.

On Holding the Ground for Constructive Economy

President Coolidge with Postmaster General New standing over his left shoulder.

President Coolidge with Postmaster General New standing over his left shoulder.

When the President, Budget Director, Cabinet heads and various departmental chiefs met on June 10, 1927, the Business Organization of the Government had been gathering bi-annually for six years. In that time the country had been raised from the deep depression of 1921, brought low by the sudden death of President Harding, lifted by the decisive election of Mr. Coolidge and tested anew by the Mississippi Floods that spring. November would bring similar floods to Vermont. Naval disarmament, war debts and reparations as well as the conflicts in Mexico and Nicaragua would present more challenges as the year came to a close. Yet, through it all, these meetings had become a fixed force for good administration, defending the profit of all the people, not simply a favored few, through a wise balance of debt payment and long-term expenditure, simultaneously trimming back wasteful practices that eroded the return of annual surpluses in the form of tax cuts. Applying the principles of a Budget system to government provided an actual measure of the progress of constructive economy as long as the discipline and the courage to hold government to the practice of sound business remained. Election-year smokescreens and campaigner’s numbers could not withstand the unrelenting scrutiny these meetings brought to public light, the reading of the “score,” as Ronald Reagan once put it, accounting for how Americans’ money had been used every six months and where it was estimated to go in the coming year. This kind of forthright disclosure was not proclaimed in some obscure government report to be buried at the first opportunity, it was a bi-annual event championed by the President and his Budget Bureau General through the burgeoning medium of radio. It was carried by newspapers, moving reels and by word of mouth. Coolidge wanted everyone to know what the score was so that future gains could be quantified and the under-girding supports of discipline and courage needed to keep on course would continue to find resolve and renewal for years to come. All the good done would unravel without both the leadership of the executive and the will of Americans to insist on its continuance.

This is why he, in January that year, would disclose the “real encouragement” these meetings gave him for the nation’s future. “We gather here to consider the business operations of the government. It is here we discuss our policies and aims, so that all may contribute understandingly to their fulfillment. We represent the most colossal business organization in the world. Its activities touch almost every known interest. Because of this it is important that we proceed along definite business lines. And this becomes even more important when we pause to consider the one and only object of our operations – the welfare of the American people. The profit of our labors go to the people. This is our constant inspiration for loyal, faithful, and devoted service.

In an environment President Coolidge knew to be delirious about authority without accountability, he declared the concern was not for “the amount of responsibility attaching to an office” instead “are we concerned with the manner in which that responsibility is discharged. It is in the discharge of our duties that we find success or failure.” Each small part was not inconsequential because it contributed to the aggregate result. By the end of the fiscal year that June of 1927, thanks to this fidelity toward results, the overall outcome was a staggering two and one-half billion dollars ahead of scheduled payments and the interest on them. Some five billion dollars would be gone from the debt and a hundred million in annual savings on interest had been obtained by paying so promptly on what the nation owed.

Cited from the Annual Report of the Secretary of the Treasury on the State of the Finances, 1927. Courtesy of Fraser, http://fraser.stlouisfed.org/.

Cited from the Annual Report of the Secretary of the Treasury on the State of the Finances, 1927. Courtesy of Fraser, http://fraser.stlouisfed.org/.

The President was keeping a keen eye on national security as well. Coolidge was not going to undermine American defenses in the name of economy. This would not be true to the principles of constructive economy. After all, as he had said before, economy was not parsimonious or miserly. To Coolidge, financial strength made for military preparedness, one was not mutually exclusive of the other. “The public debt has a direct connection with the question of military preparedness. To the extent that we are able to reduce our public debt and to eliminate the vact charges thereon, to that extent are we adding to our military preparedness; and to the same extent are we lightening the burden of the people of this country…But, aside from the many and other more important reasons, we should, from a financial standpoint alone, refrain from any gesture which could possibly be construed as militaristic.” The issue had two basic camps, Coolidge said. “There are in this Nation people who advocate policies which would place us in a militaristic attitude. There are others who beguile themselves with a feeling of absolute safety and preach a doctrine of extreme pacifism. Both of these are dangerous to our continued peace and prosperity.” The President explained a better way. “What we need, and all that we need, for national protection is adequate preparedness. In that is reflected our traditional attitude toward all nations. It contains no gesture of offense and no gesture of weakness. I am for adequate preparedness. It is a question to which I always give the most serious thought in my recommendations to the Congress in the Budget message. As Commander of the Army and of the Navy, the Chief Executive of this Nation has an emphatic responsibility for this phase of our welfare. As a nation we are advocates of peace. Not only should we refrain from any act which might be construed as calling for competition in armament, but rather should we bend our every effort to eliminate any such competition. We can not and should not divorce our own interests this direction from the interests of other nations. Rather should we view the matter from the standpoint of the best interests of all the nations. Surely the best interests of all are found in directing to the channels of public welfare moneys which would otherwise be spent without productive results.”

When President Coolidge, addressing the Twelfth Meeting of the Business Organization of the Government in January, considered the countless requests for access to the public Treasury, no one anticipated how expensive 1927 would turn out to be. The unforeseen flooding of the Mississippi River Delta that April followed by the inundation of Vermont in November could have very easily exhausted what constructive economy had accomplished up to that point. Combine this with the market manipulation of McNary-Haugen, successfully vetoed twice that year by Coolidge, and the unprecedented surplus of 1927 could have been a demoralizing deficit not merely that year but for years to come. Coolidge prophetically explained in January what it had taken, and would continue to take, to prevent this reckless reaction from taking hold, undoing all that had been accomplished since 1921. “With a full Treasury and revenues at flood it requires courage to continue along the lines we have been following these last years. I am speaking not alone from an executive standpoint but also from a legislative one. I realize the great pressure for increased appropriations brought upon the Congress and I realize the enviable record which it has made in supporting the principles of the Budget law…It is pleasurable and easy to give. It is difficult to withhold. If the Treasury vaults were thrown open and its accumulated capital drawn upon until not a dollar were left, even then would we not be able to satisfy the demands that probably would be made from various groups and from various localities. And who will say that these demands may not have justifications? Projects that eventually will be resolved into completed works, purposes, and policies that in time to come must be adopted and financed, if accepted in their entirety to-day would throw a tax burden upon the people that would cripple business, check prosperity, and convert our annual surplus into an annual deficit. What needs to be done should be done. Great developments are sure to come. They should come, however, as the result of orderly procedure with an eye always to the best interests of the taxpayers. For extravagance and unnecessary provision – a waste of the people’s money – there is no justification. I intend always to recommend sufficient appropriations to do what is necessary to be done and what should be done. If I err in my judgment I prefer to err on the side of having rather than on the side of spending.” Looking back on the Mississippi disaster at the June meeting, Coolidge would stand by this fiscal commitment to people, noting, “The loss of life and property is appalling. All that possibly can be done to alleviate distress and suffering is being done…Such a disaster must never happen again.” Man could not direct the weather but he could control the degree of preparedness to handle it. This is where constructive economy enters. “From a business standpoint we must anticipate from this disaster a reduction in our prospective revenue and an increase in our prospective expenditures. I am confident this will be an added incentive to effect savings elsewhere.”

Annual Report of the Secretary of the Treasury, 1927. Courtesy of Fraser, http://fraser.stlouisfed.org/.

Annual Report of the Secretary of the Treasury, 1927. Courtesy of Fraser, http://fraser.stlouisfed.org/.

Annual Report of the Secretary of the Treasury, 1927. Courtesy of Fraser, http://fraser.stlouisfed.org/.

Annual Report of the Secretary of the Treasury, 1927. Courtesy of Fraser, http://fraser.stlouisfed.org/.

Coolidge knew that this work was far more than some abstract bureaucratic exercise, it directly impacted and proportionately helped or hindered real-life people. Constructive economy did not exempt anyone in public service from the hardest of decisions, the retention of personnel. Some seventy thousand employees had been taken off the Federal payrolls due to age or inefficiency where they were. Economy did not mean forgetting these people, however, it meant placing them where they were needed and still had a contribution to make. If that was in another area of public service, then Coolidge’s executive order (No. 4577), signed the day before on January 28, would furnish the Civil Service registers with “qualified eligibles” upon which to draw until Federal vacancies were filled, saving further costs to the people. The retirement act amended by Congress working in conjunction with the 1923 classification act governing salaries and the recently passed travel allowance law would together serve the interests of all concerned, not merely one group at the expense of the whole. It reinforced practical nature of Coolidge’s constructive economy. As the President reiterated, “The Federal Government exists only for the good of the people. It we do not make every dollar count in doing the needful things, we unduly enlarge the amount required from the people. The same is true if we unduly enlarge the functions of the Government. In spite of three substantial reductions in tax rates, we have taken from the people something more than actually necessary to carry on the business of the Government. From this has accrued the yearly surpluses which have been invested in the further reduction of the national debt and the profit arising there-from through reduction in interest. These surpluses would not have accrued had the business of government not been well managed.”

When the Budget System went into effect six years before, it was no act of gutless concession. Then the debt stood at five and a half billion dollars, exacting fifty-one dollars for every man, woman and child in the country. Taxes consumed just under five billion dollars of that total. The cost of living index soared above 190. “To initiate a policy of constructive economy at that time required a great deal of courage. To all appearances it was almost impossible of accomplishment. The time when it would give any actual relief seemed to be so far in the distance that there was little incentive to make the required sacrifices to secure it.” Yet, secure it the country did. “In this short period of time the progress has been nothing less than astounding.” By June 1927, the annual budget stood around three billion dollars, national debt at nineteen billion, the cost per capita down more than twenty dollars, the cost of living index down to 176 and falling with five million dollars saved every working day. “This readjustment of the finances of the Government has been a large contributing factor in the prosperity which the country has enjoyed. Out of our surplus earnings we have paid off nearly a quarter of our national debt and furnished billions of dollars to stabilize and refinance other parts of the world. Measured by its productive capacity and by its distribution in wages and its results in the general raising of the standards of living, it is far in excess of anything ever enjoyed before by any people anywhere at any time.”

Courtesy of Fraser, http://fraser.stlouisfed.org/.

Courtesy of Fraser, http://fraser.stlouisfed.org/.

Courtesy of Fraser, http://fraser.stlouisfed.org/.

Courtesy of Fraser, http://fraser.stlouisfed.org/.

The departments, bureaus, commissions and agencies could not make their proposed budgets for the future based upon the landmark surplus of 1927. President Coolidge reminded those gathered there how tenuous a surplus truly is and how easily it can unravel should unforeseen disasters occur. The Government could not count on larger revenues or greater expenditures with the expectation that 1928 would pay for them. Responsible administration demands a long-term view, not the immediate gratification that kills the sources of revenue today on the assumption that those same sources will give accordingly tomorrow. “I do not hesitate to say that one of the greatest safeguards of this Nation, financially, socially, and morally, lies in constructive economy in government. It will do much to defeat attempts to undermine our traditions and disrupt our institutions. Economy does not mean the neglect of essentials. Rather does it mean adequate provision for them by the elimination of waste. It gives the added protection which comes from the means to meet a time of emergency. The Federal Government has set an example not alone to the other governments in this country but to other nations in the practice of economy. Extravagance may bring momentary pleasure and apparent benefit, but it creates a condition which is bound to affect the future adversely. In our operations we are building for more than the present. The foundation is being well laid with a support of the people in which we find encouragement to continue our efforts in their behalf.” The present and future, the country and all nations would be bettered by this perseverance of constructive economy.

Courtesy of Fraser, http://fraser.stlouisfed.org/.

Courtesy of Fraser, http://fraser.stlouisfed.org/.

There could be no replacement for continued courage and discipline if the coming year is to build on the good rewards of everyone’s hard work. “To do more work and better work with a smaller outlay of the taxpayers’ money is the supreme test of successful administration,” the President asserted that June. In preparing to turn the January meeting over to his Budget General, Director Lord, Coolidge said, “If we had the courage to adopt this policy when its beneficial results appeared to be far in the future, now that we are in the midst of their enjoyment we ought to have the courage and self-control to continue it. There is not a home anywhere within the broad confines of this Republic which is not better off because of the service which you have rendered and the sacrifices which you have made. These results are unprecedented in the financial history of the world. They have placed America at the pinnacle of success and prosperity. It is our business to do our part to keep it there.”

The Official Family, June 30, 1924

The Official Family enjoying a moment together as the camera snaps, June 30, 1924