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Author Topic: Silent Cal schools the progressives on the Declaration of Independence  (Read 869 times)

Corey

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Last week on the Independence Day holiday I read the Declaration of Independence and then did some further reading about it. In the course of that reading I found a gem from our 30th president (whose birthday was also on July 4th) that I just had to share.

On July 5, 1926 President Coolidge spoke in Philadelphia at an event commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. It was a great speech about the Declaration and it's place in history. 

The progressive movement was going strong at that time and one of the ideas many progressives held then and now is the belief that we have progressed beyond the Declaration and Constitution and that the ideas expressed in those documents are relics of the past. Coolidge took a paragraph in his speech to discuss that belief.

Quote
About the Declaration there is a finality that is exceedingly restful. It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have given us a great advance over the people of that day, and that we may therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning can not be applied to this great charter. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress. They are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than those of the Revolutionary fathers.
:clap :thumbup1

The full speech can be found here: http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=408

The more I read about Coolidge (I just started the Amity Shlaes biography of him) the higher regard I have for him.

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    Coronach

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    That's brilliant.
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    coelacanth

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    Great speech.  Thanks for posting it.   :thumbup1    And yes, he was a brilliantly understated president.   :clap
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    LJS14

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    People tend to forget about the good presidents that don't have a war tied in with their name.
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