November 1, 2012

Coolidge: The Last President of the Republic of 1789


Silent Cal was modest in six languages. He was the last President of the Republic of 1789.

"…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….” -- James Wilson quoting in Side-Lines: Calvin Coolidge for President

FULLTEXT: Speech on the Occasion of the One Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence by Calvin Coolidge

Posted by gerardvanderleun at November 1, 2012 11:56 AM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.


The earliest commercial "talkie" was The Jazz Singer in '27. This Coolidge film is a short, and would have been taking advantage of a new technological advance (soundtrack on the film strip itself).

As to Coolidge's sentiments: Right On!

Posted by: Don Rodrigo at November 1, 2012 2:21 PM

Adults once managed the world and worked tirelessly to provide a better life for their children. The children remained children long after they should've and now we are rotten at the root.
Coolidge in 2012!

Posted by: Dan Patterson at November 1, 2012 6:39 PM

I don't think it is quite accurate to call the United States in the 1920s, the Republic of 1789.

That regime died at Fort Sumter in 1861. Its characteristics included being run by members of the Slave-holding Planter Aristocracy for 32 of its first 40 years and 40 of its its first 48 years. The subsequent Presidents were either Slave owners or subservient to them. The 1789 Republic did not have a succession of northerners to the Presidency until the 1850s, when it was on its last legs.

The Republic of 1865 was quite different. It was Hamiltonian not Jeffersonian. The Federal government became much more active. In the Lincoln Administration alone, laws such as the Homestead Act, the National Bank Act, the Morrill Act (land grant colleges), and the Pacific (Transcontinental) Railroad Act, marked a strong departure from the minimalist norms of the first 72 years. Reconstruction and the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments created a new constitutional relationship between the States and the Federal Government.

The Presidency was reserved to Northerners. The first son of the South elected after 1865, Wilson, spent his adult years in New Jersey.

In 1932, the 1865 Republic collapsed in bankruptcy and was replaced by a People's Democratic Republic, a/k/a the "Progressive" Republic of 1932.

In all fairness, the 1865 Republic was done in by its own poor choices, including, the Homestead Act, which filled the Midwest with small peasant farmers who were doomed to fail and become rebellious, the National Bank Act which localized banking on a sub-State level, the consistent use of high tariffs which were jacked up by Smoot-Hawley, and last but not least, Prohibition, which nationalized a social problem, and tried to solve it in a way that simply delegitimated the Republic.

The 1932 PDR, will also fail, unless reformed, because of its out of control spending and its chronically unstable fiat money banking system.

If Obama is elected next week the failure will be sooner rather than later and catastrophic rater than gradual. You do not want to live through that disaster.

The American people are pragmatically conservative (small c) and would rather see the regime stabilized than to see it replaced. If elected, Romney will undertake to stabilize the 1932 PDR. He will have to bring the bureaucracy and the judiciary to heel, cut benefits from the entitlement programs, and raise taxes. Yes, I said raise taxes. He will not do that overtly as by raising rates or imposing a new tax like the VAT. He will do it subtly by cutting exemptions and deductions in the current system and raising fees for entitlements.

We will see, what we will see, but one thing is certain, change will come and it will come sooner rather than later.

Posted by: Fat Man at November 1, 2012 10:19 PM

You don't see anyone arguing, Fat Man, but it should be noted that hardly anyone remembers who was President from Grant to Teddy Roosevelt, much less in what order. That is a good thing. We were still running of the momentum of the Republic of 1789.1933 was a rejection of it.

1913 and 1920 provided critical mass for our critical mess. It's a Republic, if you can keep it.

Posted by: james wilson at November 2, 2012 10:54 AM