On What Stands Proven by Time

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Here is a snapshot from the opening the ceremonies at the Sesquicentennial, Philadelphia, July 5, 1926. Depicted in the front row, L to R: Frank W. Stearns, Pennsylvania Governor Gifford Pinchot, Philadelphia Mayor and Mrs. W. Freeland Kendrick, First Lady Grace Coolidge, the President and U. S. Attorney General John G. Sargent. Courtesy of Thomas H. Keels.

Certainly enough time has elapsed to demonstrate with a great deal of thoroughness the value of our institutions and their dependability as rules for the regulation of human conduct and the advancement of civilization. They have been in existence long enough to become very well seasoned. They have met, and met successfully, the test of experience.

It is not so much, then, for the purpose of undertaking to proclaim new theories and principles that this annual celebration is maintained, but rather to reaffirm and reestablish those old theories and principles which time and the unerring logic of events have demonstrated to be sound. Amid all the clash of conflicting interests, amid all the welter of partisan politics, every American can turn for solace and consolation to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States with the assurance and confidence that those two great charters of freedom and justice remain firm and unshaken. Whatever perils appear, whatever dangers threaten, the Nation remains secure in the knowledge that the ultimate application of the law of the land will provide an adequate defense and protection — Calvin Coolidge, excerpt from his speech at Philadelphia, July 5, 1926.

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