||Reflections on The American
The Founding Fathers
In these pages Silent Cal Coolidge
focuses his famed terse eloquence on
the nation's founders, not merely on
George Washington's indispensable
figure but also on the Declaration of
Independence and the Constitution,
Alexander Hamilton, Washington's fellow
Virginia patriots, the Battles of Bunker
Hill, Princeton, and Trenton, Ethan
Allen's Green Mountain Boys, Boston's
Old North Church, Methodist Episcopal
Bishop Francis Asbury, and the pivotal
role Jewish Americans played in winning
of our freedoms. No modern president
has spoken so much—or so well—of
America's providential genesis.
Coolidge transforms mere history into a
From Calvin Coolidge in "Calvin
Coolidge on the Founders":
"The real fact is that in a republic like ours
the people are the government, and if they
cannot secure perfection in their own
economic life it is altogether improbable that
the Government can secure it for them."
"The flags of the great empires of that day
are gone, but the Stars and Stripes remain. It
pictures the vision of a people whose eyes
were turned to the rising dawn. It represents
the hope of a father for his posterity. It was
never flaunted for the glory of royalty, but to
be born under it is to be a child of a king,
and to establish a home under it is to be the
founder of a royal house."
"Our government rests upon religion. It is
from that source that we derive our
reverence for truth and justice, for equality
and liberty, and for the rights of mankind.
Unless the people believe in these principles
they cannot believe in our government."
"The government of a country never gets
ahead of the religion of a country."
"It was because religion gave the people a
new importance and a new glory that they
demanded a new freedom and a new
government. We cannot in our generation
reject the cause and retain the result."
"The States should not be induced by
coercion or by favor to surrender the
management of their own affairs. The
Federal Government ought to resist the
tendency to be loaded up with duties which
the States should perform. It does not follow
that because some thing ought to be done
the National Government ought to do it."
"A significant circumstance of the First
Congress, one which ought never to be
overlooked, lies in the fact that it resulted
from the voluntary effort on the part of the
people to redress their own grievances and
remedy their own wrongs. We pay too little
attention to the reserve power of the people
to take care of themselves. We are too
solicitous for government intervention, on the
theory, first, that the people themselves are
helpless, and second, that the Government
has superior capacity for action. Often times
both of these conclusions are wrong."
"It is very difficult to reconcile the American
ideal of a sovereign people capable of
owning and managing their own government
with an inability to own and manage their
"No plan of centralization has ever been
adopted which did not result in bureaucracy,
tyranny, inflexibility, reaction, and decline. Of
all forms of government, those administered
by bureaus are about the least satisfactory
to an enlightened and progressive people.
Being irresponsible they become autocratic,
and being autocratic they resist all
development. Unless bureaucracy is
constantly resisted it breaks down
representative government and overwhelms
democracy. It is the one element in our
institutions that sets up the pretense of
having authority over everybody and being
responsible to nobody."
Table of Contents
"A book I recommend."
David Pietrusza is the award-winning
Pietrusza's powerful historical story-telling has
been compared to that of H. L. Mencken, Doris
Kearns Goodwin, Edmund Morris, Theodore H.
White, and Gene Fowler.
An expert on the 1920s, Pietrusza has served on
the Board of the Directors and the National
Advisory Board of the Calvin Coolidge Memorial
He is also the author of The Roaring Twenties,
an examination of the era for younger readers.
A respected commentator, Pietrusza has served
as a regular panelist of FoxNews.com Live. He
has appeared on C-SPAN BookTV (including "In
Depth"), The History Channel ("The Ultimate
Guide to the Presidents"), GBTV, NPR, ESPN,
ESPN Classic, Bloomberg Radio News,The Fox
News Channel, the Fox Sports Channel, and
|David Pietrusza Discussing Calvin Coolidge on the Glenn Beck Program September 2010|