On Self-Control and the Future

“It is senseless to boast of our liberty when we find that to so shocking an extent it is merely the liberty to go ill-governed. It is time to take warning that neither the liberties we prize nor the system under which we claim them are safe while such conditions exist.

“We shall not correct admitted and grave defects if we hesitate to recognize them. We must be frank with ourselves. We ought to be our own harshest critics. We can afford to be, for in spite of everything we still have a balance of prosperity, of general welfare, of secure freedom, and of righteous purpose, that gives us assurance of leadership among the nations.

“What America needs is to hold to its ancient and well-charted course.

“Our country was conceived in the theory of local self-government. It has been dedicated by long practice to that wise and beneficent policy. It is the foundation principle of our system of liberty. It makes the largest promise to the freedom and development of the individual. Its preservation is worth all the effort and all the sacrifice that it may cost”
— President Calvin Coolidge, Arlington National Cemetery, May 30, 1925.

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