Calvin Coolidge on America’s Spiritual Roots

American Minute with Bill Federer

President Calvin Coolidge warned in a speech given MAY 15, 1926, at the College of William and Mary:

“But there is another … recent development … the greatly disproportionate influence of organized minorities.

Artificial propaganda, paid agitators, selfish interests, all impinge upon members of legislative bodies to force them to represent special elements rather than the great body of their constituency.

When they are successful, minority rule is established …

The result is an extravagance on the part of the Government which is ruinous to the people and a multiplicity of regulations and restrictions for the conduct of all kinds of necessary business, which becomes little less than oppressive …”

Coolidge continued:

“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 …

Unless bureaucracy is constantly resisted it breaks down representative government and overwhelms democracy.

It … sets up the pretense of having authority over everybody and being responsible to nobody …”

Coolidge added:

“We must also recognize that the national administration is not and cannot be adjusted to the needs of local government …

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 something ought to be done the National Government ought to do it …

I want to see the policy adopted by the States of discharging their public functions so faithfully that instead of an extension on the part of the Federal Government there can be a contraction …

The principles of government have the same need to be fortified, reinforced, and supported that characterize the principles of religion.”

Calvin Coolidge stated at the unveiling of Equestrian Statue of Bishop Francis Asbury, October 15, 1924, Washington, DC:

“There are only two main theories of government in the world.

One rests on righteousness, the other rests on force. One appeals to reason, the other appeals to the sword. One is exemplified in a republic, the other is represented by a despotism …”

Collins English Dictionary defines “despotism”:

“the rule of a despot; arbitrary, absolute, or tyrannical government.”

John Locke’s Second Treatise on Civil Government (Ch. 14-15):

“No absolute or arbitrary power.”

SparkNotes on Locke’s Second Treatise states:

“Despotical power is absolute, arbitrary power of one person to take the life and property of another against their will.”

Kentucky and Wyoming Constitutions state:

“Absolute, arbitrary power over the lives, liberty and property of freemen exists nowhere in a republic.”

President Coolidge continued:

“The history of government on this earth has been almost entirely a history of the rule of force held in the hands of a few.

Under our Constitution, America committed itself to … the power in the hands of the people …

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.”

Coolidge’s reference to “rule of force held in the hands of a few” was the view of the German political philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831), who stated: ‘The State is god walking on earth.’

After Napoleon had overrun Europe so easily, Prussian King Frederick William III embraced Hegel’s philosophy of strengthening the German state.

Hegel wrote in Philosophy of History (Jacob Loewenberg, ed., Hegel: Selections (New York: C. Scribner’s Sons, 1929, p. 398):

“The origin of a State involves imperious lordship on the one hand, instinctive submission on the other.

Obedience — Lordly power, and the fear inspired by a ruler — in itself implies some degree of voluntary connection … it is not the isolated will of individuals that prevails; individual pretensions are relinquished, and the general will is the essential bond of political union.”

“Hegelian dialectics” is the method of concentrating power by first creating a crisis.

Described as a triangle: one corner is the THESIS, the opposite corner it the ANTITHESIS, and the top corner is the SYNTHESIS.

In other words, create a problem that is real bad and people will readily surrender their freedoms to settle for an answer that is half as bad.

Each SYNTHESIS then becomes the new THESIS, and the process is repeated until all power is voluntarily relinquished by the people into the hands of a dictator.

Hegel wrote in Philosophy of Law (Section 279):

“When it is contrasted with the sovereignty of the monarch, the phrase ‘sovereignty of the people’ turns out to be merely one of those confused notions which arise from the wild idea of the ‘people’. Without its monarch … the people are just a formless multitude.”

Hegel wrote in Philosophy of Law (Jacob Loewenberg, ed., Hegel: Selections, NY: C. Scribner’s Sons, 1929, pp. 457, 461-62):

“The many … whom one chooses to call the people, are indeed a collection, but only as a multitude, a formless mass, whose movement and action would be elemental, irrational, savage, and terrible …

Public opinion deserves … to be esteemed as much as to be despised …

The definition of the freedom of the press as freedom to say and write what one pleases … such a view belongs to the uneducated crudity and superficiality of naive thinking.”

Hegel influenced Darwin, who referred to Hegel’s dialectics in support the theory of species evolving.

Hegel influenced Karl Marx, who was member of the “Young Hegelians” at the University of Berlin.

Hegel influenced Adolph Hitler, who wrote Mein Kampf (My Struggle).

Both Communism and Nazism intentionally fomented unrest and anarchy which resulted in power being consolidated into the hands of the state.

The practical implementation of Hegel’s theory was to identify tension ‘fault lines’ in a society, fan these perceived injustices into flames causing public emotions reach the boiling point.

Once crisis breaks out, everyone is desperate to have the anarchy stopped so they willing relinquish their rights and freedoms to the state and dictator.

Calvin Coolidge gave insight into America’s success at maintaining order in his address at the 150th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, Philadelphia, July 5, 1926:

“The principles … which went into the Declaration of Independence … are found in … the sermons … of the early colonial clergy who were earnestly undertaking to instruct their congregations in the great mystery of how to live.

They preached equality because they believed in the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man. They justified freedom by the text that we are all created in the divine image …

Placing every man on a plane where he acknowledged no superiors, where no one possessed any right to rule over him, he must inevitably choose his own rulers through a system of self-government …

In order that they might have freedom to express these thoughts and opportunity to put them into action, WHOLE CONGREGATIONS WITH THEIR PASTORS MIGRATED TO THE COLONIES …”

Coolidge concluded:

“The Declaration of Independence is a great spiritual document …

Equality, liberty, popular sovereignty, the rights of man — these are … ideals. They have their source and their roots in the religious convictions. They belong to the unseen world.

Unless the faith of the American in these religious convictions is to endure, the principles of our Declaration will perish. We can not continue to enjoy the result if we neglect and abandon the cause.”

President Calvin Coolidge stated on September 21, 1924, in an address to the Holy Name Society in Washington, D.C.:

“Equality is recognized … from belief in the brotherhood of man through the fatherhood of God …

It seems perfectly plain that the right to equality has for its foundation reverence for God.

If we could imagine that swept away our American government could not long survive.”


bill-federer-2Self-Educated American Contributing Editor, William J. Federer, is the bestselling author of “Backfired: A Nation Born for Religious Tolerance no Longer Tolerates Religion,” and numerous other books. A frequent radio and television guest, his daily American Minute is broadcast nationally via radio, television, and Internet. Check out all of Bill’s books here.