On the Strength of Our Constitution: A Reminder That We Are All In This Together to Make America Succeed

Colonel Coolidge with several Plymouth neighbors listening in as Calvin Coolidge delivers his acceptance speech around 8PM on August 14, 1924.

Colonel Coolidge, with several Plymouth neighbors, listening in as Calvin Coolidge delivers his acceptance speech around 8PM on August 14, 1924.

“While we are discussing some of the problems of the day, some of the changes we propose to meet temporary conditions, it is also well to remember that it is equally necessary to support our fundamental institutions. We believe in our method of constitutional government and the integrity of the legislative, judicial, and executive departments. We believe that our liberties and our rights are best preserved, not through political, but through judicial action. The Constitution is the sole source and guaranty of national freedom. We believe that the safest place to declare and interpret the Constitution which the people have made is in the Supreme Court of the United States.

“We believe the people of the Nation should continue to own the property and transact the business of the Nation. We harbor no delusions about securing perfection. We know that mankind is finite, and will continue to be under any system. But that system is best which gives the individual the largest freedom of action, and the largest opportunity for honorable accomplishment. Such a system does not tend to the concentration of wealth but to the diffusion of wealth. Under our institutions there is no limitation on the aspirations a mother may have for her children. That system I pray to continue. This country would not be a land of opportunity, America would not be America, if the people were shackled with government monopolies.

“Under our institutions success is the rule and failure is the exception. We have no better example of this than the enormous progress which is being made by the Negro race. To some of its individuals it may seem slow, toilsome, and unsatisfactory, but viewed as a whole it has been a demonstration of their patriotism and their worth. They are doing a great work in the land, and are entitled to the protection of the Constitution and the law. It is a satisfaction to observe that the crime of lynching, of which they have been so often the victims, has been greatly diminished, and I trust that any further continuation of this national shame may be prevented by law. As a plain matter of expediency the white man can not be protected unless the black man is protected, and as a plain matter of right law is law and justice is justice for everybody.

Children at the White House Easter Egg Rolling, or rather, Eating, as Mrs. Coolidge would later describe these annual gatherings in her Autobiography, p.75.

Children at the 1923 White House Easter Egg Rolling, or rather, Egg-Eating Contest, as Mrs. Coolidge would later describe these annual gatherings in her Autobiography, p.75.

President Coolidge at Cabin Bluff with the "spiritual" singers of Georgia Industrial College.

President Coolidge at Cabin Bluff with the “spiritual” singers of Georgia Industrial College, Winter 1928.

“…We are likely to hear a great deal of discussion about liberal thought and progressive action. It is well for the country to have liberality in thought and progress in action, but its greatest asset is common sense. In the commonplace things of life lies the strength of the Nation. It is not in brilliant conceptions and strokes of genius that we shall find the chief reliance of our country, but in the home, in the school, and in religion. America will continue to defend these shrines. Every evil force that seeks to desecrate or destroy them will find that a Higher Power has endowed the people with an inherent spirit of resistance. The people know the difference between pretense and reality. They want to be told the truth. They want to be trusted. They want a chance to work out their own material and spiritual salvation. The people want a government of common sense.

“These, Mr. Chairman, are some of the beliefs which I hold, some of the principles which I propose to support. Because I am convinced that they are true, because I am satisfied that they are sound, I submit them with abiding faith to the judgment of the American people” — President Calvin Coolidge, speech formally accepting the Republican nomination for President, up for election in his own right that fall, before more than 2,000 packed into Memorial Continental Hall in Washington, D.C., August 14, 1924.

The message was also carried via nationwide radio broadcast, reaching some estimated 25 million, many of whom enjoyed their first “listen in” to the President, led by WEAF out of New York and fourteen other stations across the country, including WCAP (Washington); WJAR (Providence); WMAS (South Dartmouth, MA); WNAC (Boston); WBDH (Worcester); WGY (Schenectady); WGR (Buffalo); KDKA (Pittsburgh); WTAM (Cleveland); WSAI (Cincinnati); WGN (Chicago); WMAQ (Chicago); KSD (St. Louis); and WDAF (Kansas City).

President Coolidge visits with Mr. Thomas Lee at the White House, May 28, 1925. Mr. Lee was recognized for his heroic efforts rescuing those endangered when a steam vessel capsized suddenly on the Mississippi River. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

President Coolidge visits with Mr. Thomas Lee at the White House, May 28, 1925. Mr. Lee was recognized for his heroic efforts in saving 32 lives when a steam vessel capsized suddenly on the Mississippi River near Memphis. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

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