Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Coolidge's Remarks on the Declaration

There are some who would contest the assertions made here by Coolidge, and they would call themselves Americans.  They would construct their "America" as a nation which only tolerates the "un-equals" (as they would describe them.)

Only a few decades before Coolidge's remarks, we heard from Lincoln's opponent Douglas.  Perhaps these remarks of Douglas are what inspired Silent Cal:

...“I am free to say to you,” Douglas said, “that in my opinion this government of ours is founded on the white basis. It was made by the white man, for the benefit of the white man, to be administered by white men, in such manner as they should determine....

Hmmmm.  Yes, you've heard that recently, and you have seen suchlike in pixels, too.

Here's Coolidge:

...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....

And of course, Lincoln also had something to say, responding to the claim that America belongs only to those who are descended from those who occupied the Colonies at the time of the Revolution--the claim of Douglas AND of some moderns.

...We have besides these men—descended by blood from our ancestors—among us perhaps half our people who are not descendants at all of these men, they are men who have come from Europe—German, Irish, French and Scandinavian—men that have come from Europe themselves, or whose ancestors have come hither and settled here, finding themselves our equals in all things. If they look back through this history to trace their connection with those days by blood, they find they have none, they cannot carry themselves back into that glorious epoch and make themselves feel that they are part of us, but when they look through that old Declaration of Independence they find that those old men say that “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,” and then they feel that that moral sentiment taught in that day evidences their relation to those men, that it is the father of all moral principle in them, and that they have a right to claim it as though they were blood of the blood, and flesh of the flesh of the men who wrote that Declaration [loud and long continued applause], and so they are. That is the electric cord in that Declaration that links the hearts of patriotic and liberty-loving men together, that will link those patriotic hearts as long as the love of freedom exists in the minds of men throughout the world....

Lincoln went on to make the point that the arguments of Douglas are the arguments made by Kings to justify their tyranny.  But we know that, right?

Read the whole link.  It's good for you.

HT:  PowerLIne

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