Date: January 10, 1931
Location: Northampton, MA
The abolition of city slums through public and private effort would be social service of the first order. Public discussion concerning them seldom appears because building and tenement laws, with the high rates of wages, have greatly modified these sections. But they still exist. The present seems a time when state and local governments might join with philanthropic persons in rebuilding these areas.
Environment is a powerful factor in human development. But all that is necessary cannot be contributed by housing. Many country houses would make slums if concentrated in a large city. But, with no crowding and abundant light, air and water, the character of houses in the country is not so important.
It will take more than a combination of such improvements to abolish the slums. The problem is also personal. Changing the outer garments will not be enough. Elaborate mansions often shelter bad people while good people live in poverty. We must reach deeper and change the soul. The mental and moral atmosphere must be renovated. Fine houses will be in vain unless those who occupy them come under the influence of education and religion.
Citation: Calvin Coolidge Says: Dispatches Written by Former-President Coolidge and Syndicated to Newspapers in 1930-1931 (Calvin Coolidge Memorial Foundation)
The Coolidge Foundation gratefully acknowledges the volunteer efforts of Pamela Mett who prepared this document for digital publication.