Date: August 28, 1916
Location: Riverside, MA
Context: Lieutenant Governor campaign speech
It may be that there would be votes for the Republican Party in the promise of low taxes and vanishing expenditures. I can see an opportunity for its candidates to pose as the apostles of retrenchment and reform. I am not one of those who believe votes are to be won by misrepresentations, skilful presentations of half truths, and plausible deductions from false premises. Good government cannot be found on the bargain-counter. We have seen samples of bargain-counter government in the past when low tax rates were secured by increasing the bonded debt for current expenses or refusing to keep our institutions up to the standard in repairs, extensions, equipment, and accommodations. I refuse, and the Republican Party refuses, to endorse that method of sham and shoddy economy. New projects can wait, but the commitments of the Commonwealth must be maintained. We cannot curtail the usual appropriations or the care of mothers with dependent children or the support of the poor, the insane, and the infirm. The Democratic programme of cutting the State tax, by vetoing appropriations of the utmost urgency for improvements and maintenance costs of institutions and asylums of the unfortunates of the State, cannot be the example for a Republican administration. The result has been that our institutions are deficient in resources — even in sleeping accommodations — and it will take years to restore them to the old-time Republican efficiency. Our party will have no part in a scheme of economy which adds to the misery of the wards of the Commonwealth — the sick, the insane, and the unfortunate; those who are too weak even to protest.
Because I know these conditions I know a Republican administration would face an increasing State tax rather than not see them remedied.
The Republican Party lit the fire of progress in Massachusetts. It has tended it faithfully. It will not flicker now. It has provided here conditions of employment, and safeguards for health, that are surpassed nowhere on earth. There will be no backward step. The reuniting of the Republican Party means no reaction in the protection of women and children in our industrial life. These laws are settled. These principles are established. Minor modifications are possible, but the foundations are not to be disturbed. The advance may have been too rapid in some cases, but there can be no retreat. That is the position of the great majority of those who constitute our party.
We recognize there is need of relief — need to our industries, need to our population in manufacturing centres; but it must come from construction, not from destruction. Put an administration on Beacon Hill that can conserve our resources, that can protect us from further injuries, until a national Republican policy can restore those conditions of confidence and prosperity under which our advance began and under which it can be resumed.
This makes the coming State election take on a most important aspect — not that it can furnish all the needed relief, but that it will increase the probability of a complete relief in the near future if it be crowned with Republican victory.
Citation: Have Faith in Massachusetts
The Coolidge Foundation gratefully acknowledges the volunteer efforts of Andrew Lu who prepared this document for digital publication.
What this speech means to me: Coolidge’s unwavering commitment to his beliefs in this speech is both admirable and impressive. He provides meaningful assurances of the values and foundation of his agenda, which is always toward progress — in this way, he is a champion of social rights and economic prosperity. His tone remains honest and comforting, and throughout the speech, there is no doubt he has the conditions of the people front and center in his mind. –Andrew Lu, April 2020