I’m not sure how it happened, but earlier this week I was thinking about some of my favorite political leaders when Calvin Coolidge came to mind. Coolidge is in my list of 5 best Presidents – but if someone asked for my all-time favorite – I would probably pick Coolidge in a pinch. I’ve wavered on this before and swung between some other more notable men, but I always seem to come back to Coolidge.
I was going to write a whole big article about why I love Coolidge so much… but it really comes down to this, I think you should discover him (and our other leaders) for yourself. Coolidge was a very popular President who chose not to run for reelection (though he would have been a shoe-in), he was also a devout Christian who believed that Americans should always value Liberty above other concerns.
Most importantly legend has it that he took a nap every day! (Okay maybe that wasn’t most important…)
As I said, Coolidge was very popular and chose to step down instead of seeking a 3rd term in office, his explanation as to why sheds more light on why I like him so much.
“I do not choose to run for President in 1928. If I take another term, I will be in the White House till 1933 … Ten years in Washington is longer than any other man has had it—too long!” Coolidge later explained his decision not to run: “The Presidential office takes a heavy toll of those who occupy it and those who are dear to them. While we should not refuse to spend and be spent in the service of our country, it is hazardous to attempt what we feel is beyond our strength to accomplish.”
How many politicians do you know who have that kind of personal integrity and self-awareness?
He also said things like:
“It is much more important to kill bad bills than to pass good ones.”
“Wealth comes from industry and from the hard experience of human toil. To dissipate it in waste and extravagance is disloyalty to humanity.”
“There is only one form of political strategy in which I have any confidence, and that is to try to do the right thing and sometimes be able to succeed.”
“There is no dignity quite so impressive, and no independence quite so important, as living within your means.”
“Don’t expect to build up the weak by pulling down the strong.”
“Collecting more taxes than absolutely necessary is legalized robbery.”
But perhaps my all time favorite Coolidge quote came in 1924 at the unveiling of an equestrian stature of Bishop Francis Asbury.
“Our government rests upon religion. It is from that source that we derive our reverence for truth and justice, for equality and liberality, and for the rights of mankind. Unless the people believe in these principles they cannot believe in our government. There are only two main theories of government in our world. One rests on righteousness and the other on force. One appeals to reason, and the other appeals to the sword. One is exemplified in the republic, the other is represented by despotism.
The government of a country never gets ahead of the religion of a country. There is no way by which we can substitute the authority of law for the virtue of man. Of course we endeavor to restrain the vicious, and furnish a fair degree of security and protection by legislation and police control, but the real reform which society in these days is seeking will come as a result of our religious convictions, or they will not come at all. Peace, justice, humanity, charity—these cannot be legislated into being. They are the result of divine grace.”
Some of these brilliant quotes have been set into memes on the Internet…
I’ll be honest. I love Calvin Coolidge.
I think our nation needs more men like Calvin Coolidge standing up to lead us.
What about you? Who are your favorite Presidents… and why? Please comment in our comments section and share this with your friends. Calvin Coolidge may have been known as “Silent” Cal but i’ve found that he often stimulates great conversation!
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