Quotations – L

Labor Legislation

“Workmen’s compensation, hours and conditions of labor are cold consolation, if there be no employment.”

Have Faith in Massachusetts p. 201-202

Language, Foul

“An evil tongue cannot have a pure mind. We read that ‘out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.’ This is a truth which is worthy of much thought. He who gives license to his tongue only discloses the contents of his mind. By the excess of his words he proclaims his lack of discipline. By his very violence he shows his weakness. The youth or man who by disregarding this principle thinks he is displaying his determination and resolution and emphasizing his statements is in reality only revealing an intellectual poverty, a deficiency in self-control and self-respect, a want of accurate thinking and of spiritual insight, which cannot come save from a reverence for the truth. There are no human actions which are unimportant, none to which we can be indifferent. All of them lead either towards destruction and death, or towards construction and life.”

Foundations of the Republic pp. 104-105


“Men do not make laws. They do but discover them. Laws must be justified by something more than the will of the majority. They must rest on the eternal foundation of righteousness.”

Have Faith in Massachusetts p. 4

“Authority and sanctity of the law. When that goes all goes. It costs something but it is the cheapest thing that can be bought; it causes some inconvenience but it is the foundation of all convenience, the orderly execution of the laws.”

Adequate Brevity p. 55

“While there may be those of high intelligence who violate the law at times, the barbarian and the defective always violate it.”

Inaugural Address, March 4, 1925

Messages and Papers of the Presidents p. 9488

“Things are so ordered in this world that those who violate its law cannot escape the penalty. Nature is inexorable. If men do not follow the truth they cannot live.”

Autobiography of Calvin Coolidge p. 51

“I do not feel that any one ever really masters the law, but it is not difficult to master the approaches to the law . . .”

Autobiography of Calvin Coolidge p. 76

“Those who attend a law school know how to pass the examinations, while those who study in an office know how to apply their knowledge to actual practice.”

Autobiography of Calvin Coolidge p. 83

“Laws do not make reforms, reforms make laws. Laws must be justified by something by something more than the will of the majority.”

Have Faith in Massachusetts p. 83, AB – p. 55

“When I was admitted to practice . . . the law still occupied the high position of a profession. It had then not assumed any of its later aspects of a trade.”

Autobiography of Calvin Coolidge p. 84

“My heart was in the law.”

Autobiography of Calvin Coolidge p. 101

“The difference between despotism and democracy is not a difference in the requirement of obedience, it is a difference in rulers. He becomes an absolute sovereign by absolute obedience. He will be a limited sovereign if he limits his obedience. The criminal loses all his freedoms. It is easy to see that democracy will have obtained perfection when laws are made wholly wise and obedience is made wholly complete.”

The Price of Freedom p. 188

“Real reform does not begin with a law, it ends with a law. The attempt to dragoon the body when the need is to convince the soul will end only in revolt.”

The Price of Freedom p. 206, AP – p. 87

“Disobedience to it is disobedience to the people.”

Law and Order p. 24

“The choice lies between living under coercion and intimidation, the forces of evil, or under the laws of the people, orderly, speaking their settled convictions, the revelation of a divine authority.”

Law and Order p. 25

“There are strident voices urging resistance to law in the name of freedom. They are not seeking freedom even for themselves–they have it; they are seeking to enslave others. Their works are evil.”

Law and Order p. 57

“Laws are not manufactured, they are not imposed; they are rules of action existing from everlasting to everlasting. He who resists the resists himself; he commits suicide.”

Law and Order p. 57

“One with the law is a majority.”

Accepting the Republican vice-presidential nomination at Northampton, Massachusetts, July 27, 1920.

“The law represents the voice of the people. Behind it, and supporting it, is a divine sanction. Enforcement of law and obedience to law, by the very nature of our institutions, are not matters of choice in this republic, but the expression of a mortal requirement of living in accordance with the truth. They are clothed with a spiritual significance, in which is revealed the life or the death of the American ideal of self-government.”

Annual Message to Congress, December 6, 1923

The Mind of the President p. 241

“New activities require new laws.”

Messages and Papers of the Presidents p. 9761

“It is the mind behind the law that makes it truly effective. Laws are insufficient to endow a nation with righteousness.”

Adequate Brevity p. 42

“The law, changed and changeable on slight provocation, loses its sanctity and authority.”

Adequate Brevity p. 54

Law, SANCTITY of the

“It costs something but it is the cheapest thing that can be bought; it causes some inconvenience but it is the foundation of all convenience . . .”

Law and Order p. 24


“Men do what I tell them to do–why, is a great mystery to me.”

Your Son Calvin Coolidge June 25, 1918


“There have been great men with little of what we call education. There have ben small men with a great deal of learning. There has never been a great people who did not possess great learning.”

Adequate Brevity p. 59


“The people cannot look to legislation generally for success.”

Have Faith in Massachusetts p. 5

“Don’t hurry to legislate. Give administration a chance to catch up with legislation.”

Have Faith in Massachusetts p. 8, AB p 57

“There can be no perfect control of personal conduct by national legislation.”

The Price of Freedom p. 204

“We have had too much legislating by clamor, by tumult, by pressure. Representative government ceases when outside influence of any kind is substituted for the judgment of the representative.”

Law and Order p. 42, Adequate Brevity p. 89

“You can display no greater wisdom than by resisting proposals for needless legislation.”

Law and Order p. 47

“It is much more important to kill bad bills than to pass good ones.”

Your Son Calvin Coolidge September 6, 1910

“We have had too much legislating by clamor, by tumult, by pressure. Representative government ceases when outside influence of any kind is substituted for the judgment of the representative. This does not mean that the opinion of constituents is to be ignored. It is to be weighed most carefully, for the representative must represent; but his oath provides that it must be ‘faithfully and impartially according to the best of his abilities and understanding, agreeably to the rules and regulations of the Constitution and the laws.’ Opinions and instructions do not outmatch the Constitution. Again it they are void. It is an insult to any . . . constituency to suggest that they were so intended. Instructions are not given unless given constitutionally. There can be no constitutional instruction to do an unconstitutional act.”

Calvin Coolidge: Man From Vermont p. 188

“A large part of the history of free institutions is the history of the people struggling to emancipate themselves from unrestricted legislation.”

Adequate Brevity p. 56

“Unsound economic conditions are not conducive to sound legislation.”

Adequate Brevity p. 57


“Liberty can only be secured by obedience to the law.”

Have Faith in Massachusetts, p. 262

“It is the abuse of liberty which warrants oppression.”

The Price of Freedom p. 327

“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.”

Address at Arlington National Cemetery, May 30, 1925

The Mind of the President p. 70


“No litigant should be required to submit his case to the hazard and expense of a political campaign.”

Have Faith in Massachusetts p. 5


“There are people who complain that they do not have any luck. These are the opportunists who think their destiny is all shaped outside themselves. They are always waiting for something to happen. Not only is nothing very good likely to happen to this class, but if some fortune seems to come it tends to turn out disastrously. They are usually ruined by success.

“Our real luck lies within ourselves. It is a question of character. It depends on whether we follow the inward light of conscience. Such men rise above the realm of temporary circumstance. They are great even in defeat.

“Napoleon followed his star, seeking luck outside himself, was great only in victory. But in Egypt, at Moscow, at Waterloo, his glory departed. General Lee, sacrificing himself for what he felt was his duty, was no less great after Appomattox. Poverty, obscurity, assassination, only revealed the greatness of Lincoln. The wrath of man praised him. If we cannot control our environment, we can control ourselves and our destiny. The man who is right makes his own luck.”

Calvin Coolidge Says August 29, 1930