Quotations – L

Labor Legislation

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

Source: “Plymouth, Labor Day,” on September 1, 1919. As found in Have Faith in Massachusetts.

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.”

Source: “Authority and Religious Liberty,” on September 21, 1924. As found in Foundations of the Republic.

Law

“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.”

Source: “Have Faith In Massachusetts: Massachusetts Senate President Acceptance Speech,” on January 7, 1914. As found in Have Faith in Massachusetts.

“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.”

Source: “Republican State Convention,” on October 4, 1919.

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

Source: “Inaugural Address,” on March 4, 1925. As found in Messages and Papers of the Presidents.

“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.”

Source: 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 . . .”

Source: 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.”

Source: 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.”

Source: “On The Nature Of Politics,” on May 12, 1915. As found in Have Faith in Massachusetts.

“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.”

Source: Autobiography of Calvin Coolidge, p. 84.

“My heart was in the law.”

Source: 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.”

Source: “The Meaning Of Democracy,” on August 2, 1922. As found in The Price of Freedom.

“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.”

Source: “The Limitations Of The Law,” on August 10, 1922. As found in The Price of Freedom.

“Disobedience to it is disobedience to the people.”

Source: “Republican State Convention,” on October 4, 1919.

“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.”

Source: “Republican State Convention,” on October 4, 1919.

“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.”

Source: “Address To The General Court Beginning The Second Year As Governor Of Massachusetts,” on January 8, 1920.

“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.”

Source: “Address To The General Court Beginning The Second Year As Governor Of Massachusetts,” on January 8, 1920.

“One with the law is a majority.”

Source: “Accepting The Republican Vice-Presidential Nomination At Northampton, Massachusetts,” on 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.”

Source: “First Annual Message To The Congress,” on December 6, 1923. As found in The Mind of the President.

“New activities require new laws.”

Source: 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.”

Source: “The Foundation Of Our Institutions,” on April 13, 1923. As found in The Price of Freedom.

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

Source: “The Limitations Of The Law,” on August 10, 1922. As found in The Price of Freedom.

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 . . .”

Source: “Republican State Convention,” on October 4, 1919.

Leadership

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

Source: Your Son Calvin Coolidge, June 25, 1918.

Learning

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

Source: “Thought, The Master Of Things,” on July 7, 1921. As found in The Price of Freedom. 

Legislation

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

Source: “Have Faith In Massachusetts: Massachusetts Senate President Acceptance Speech,” on January 7, 1914. As found in Have Faith in Massachusetts.

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

Source: “Have Faith In Massachusetts: Massachusetts Senate President Acceptance Speech,” on January 7, 1914. As found in Have Faith in Massachusetts.

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

Source: “The Limitations Of The Law,” on August 10, 1922. As found in The Price of Freedom.

“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.”

Source: “A Message To The Legislature Of Massachusetts Accompanying The Governor’s Veto,” on May 6, 1920.

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

Source: “Address To The General Court Beginning The Second Year As Governor Of Massachusetts,” on January 8, 1920.

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

Source: 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.”

Source: “A Message To The Legislature Of Massachusetts Accompanying The Governor’s Veto,” on May 6, 1920.

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

Source: “The Limitations Of The Law,” on August 10, 1922. As found in Adequate Brevity, p. 56.

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

Source: Adequate Brevity, p. 57.

Liberty

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

Source: “Statement To The Press,” on November 4th, 1919. As found in Have Faith in Massachusetts.

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

Source: “The Old North Church,”on April 18th, 1923. As found in The Price of Freedom.

“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.”

Source: “The Reign Of Law, ” on May 30th, 1925. As found in The Mind of the President.

Litigation

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

Source: “Have Faith In Massachusetts: Massachusetts Senate President Acceptance Speech,” on January 7th, 1914. As found in Have Faith in Massachusetts.

Luck

“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.”

Source: Calvin Coolidge Says, August 29, 1930.


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