Title: Inaugrual Address as Governor
Date: January 2, 1919
Location: Boston, MA
Context: Coolidge delivers his inaugural address as Governor of Massachusetts to the State Legislature.
You are coming to a new legislative session under the inspiration of the greatest achievements in all history. You are beholding the fulfilment of the age-old promise, man coming into his own. You are to have the opportunity and responsibility of reflecting this new spirit in the laws of the most enlightened of Commonwealths. We must steadily advance. Each individual must have the rewards and opportunities worthy of the character of our citizenship, a broader recognition of his worth and a larger liberty, protected by order – and always under the law. In the promotion of human welfare Massachusetts happily may not need much reconstruction, but, like all living organizations, forever needs continuing construction. What are the lessons of the past? How shall they be applied to these days of readjustment? How shall we emerge from the autocratic methods of war to the democratic methods of peace, raising ourselves again to the source of all our strength and all our glory – sound self-government?
It is your duty not only to reflect public opinion, but to lead it. Whether we are to enter a new era in Massachusetts depends upon you. The lessons of the war are plain. Can we carry them on into peace? Can we still act on the principle that there is no sacrifice too great to maintain the right? Shall we continue to advocate and practise thrift and industry? Shall we require unswerving loyalty to our country? These are the foundations of all greatness.
Let there be a purpose in all your legislation to recognize the right of man to be well born, well nurtured, well educated, well employed, and well paid. This is no gospel of ease and selfishness, or class distinction, but a gospel of effort and service, of universal application.
Such results cannot be secured at once, but they should be ever before us. The world has assumed burdens that will bear heavily on all peoples. We shall not escape our share. But whatever may be our trials, however difficult our tasks, they are only the problems of peace, and a victorious peace. The war is over. Whatever the call of duty now we should remember with gratitude that it is nothing compared with the heavy sacrifice so lately made. The genius and fortitude which conquered then cannot now fail.
Calvin Coolidge, Have Faith in Massachusetts: A Collection of Speeches and Messages, 2nd ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1919.
The Coolidge Foundation gratefully acknowledges the volunteer efforts of Craig Eyermann who prepared this document for digital publication.