On Whose Duty It Is

Gov CC 6-14-1919

War-time Governor Calvin Coolidge, June 1919

Naturally the question arises, what shall we do to defend our birthright?

In the first place everybody must take a more active part in public affairs. It will not do for men to send, they must go. 

It is not enough to draw a check. Good government cannot be bought, it has to be given. 

Office has great opportunities for doing wrong, but equal chance for doing right. 

Unless good citizens hold office bad citizens will. 

People see the office-holder rather than the Government. Let the worth of the office-holder speak the worth of the government. 

The voice of the people speaks by the voice of the individual. 

Duty is not collective, it is personal. 

Let every inhabitant make known his determination to support law and order. That duty is supreme…

All these are the result of ordered liberty–the result of living under the law…

Those who are attempting to wrench the scepter of authority from the representatives of the people, to subvert the jurisdiction of her laws, are the enemies not only of progress, but of all present achievement, not only of what we hope for, but of what we have. 

This is the cause of all the people, especially of the weak and defenseless. Their only refuge is the protection of the law. The people have come to understand this. 

They are taking the deciding of this election into their own hands regardless of party. If the people win who can lose? 

They are awake to the words of Daniel Webster, ‘nothing will ruin the country if the people themselves will undertake its safety; nothing can save it if they leave that safety in any hands but their own.’ 

— Calvin Coolidge, speech at Tremont Temple, Boston, November 1, 1919

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