On the Jews

“It is easy to understand why a people with the historic background of the Jews, should thus overwhelmingly and unhesitatingly have allied themselves with the cause of freedom. From earliest colonial times, America has been a new land of promise to this long-persecuted race…whatever their origins as a people, they have always come to us, eager to adapt themselves to our institutions, to thrive under the influence of liberty, to take their full part as citizens in building and sustaining the nation, and to bear their part in its defence, in order to make a contribution to the national life, fully worth of the traditions they had inherited…

“Our country has done much for the Jews who have come here to accept its citizenship and assume their share of its responsibilities in the world. But I think the greatest thing it has done for them has been to receive them and treat them precisely as it has received and treated all others who have come to it. If our experiment in free institutions has proved anything, it is that the greatest privilege that can be conferred upon people in the mass is to free them from the demoralizing influence of privilege enjoyed by the few. This is proved by the experience here, not alone of the Jews, but of all the other racial and national elements that have entered into the making of this nation. We have found that when men and women are left free to find the places for which they are best fitted, some few of them will indeed attain less exalted stations than under a regime of privilege; but the vast multitude will rise to a higher level, to wider horizons, to worthier attainments” — President Coolidge, portion of remarks at the laying of the cornerstone of the Jewish Community Center, Washington, May 3, 1925.

Cited in Slemp, C. Bascom, compiler, “The Mind of the President.” New York: Doubleday, Page and Company, 1926, pp.288-9.

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