Recently i have been browsing through a book called What About Darwin?, which is a collection of quotations from various worthies regarding — surprise! — Charles Darwin. One that jumped out at me was a statement from Calvin Coolidge. This is from a letter he wrote to his father:

I see [Oliver Wendell] Holmes [Sr] is dead, the Autocrat of the Breakfast table on whom the years sat so lightly and who had only just declared that he was 85 years young. No one but [William] Gladstone is left of those great men that were born in 1809. Darwin is gone, the great expounder of evolution, a scientist equal to Newton. Our own [Abraham] Lincoln finished he life’s work when he struck the shackles from four millions of slaves and saw the surrender of General Lee.

Incredible that this did not become an issue in the 1924 Presidential election! It seems Republicans didn’t used to be crazy.


  1. #1 david
    September 6, 2010

    William J Byran was a Democrat. Lincoln was a Republican. The crazy south only swapped sides during the ‘southern strategy’ shift, and they brought all the crazy with them.

  2. #2 Joe Shelby
    September 7, 2010

    Politics in the 20s is a confusing beast, indeed.

    At the very least, there was more respect for “local” dominion over certain issues than there is today, mostly because there was a lot less migration than there is now. Outside of a significant move (say, migration into the U.S. from Europe or Asia), people did tend to stay close to where they were born, as they had in Europe until the industrial revolution turned the hillside textile communities into ghost towns and rural vacation resorts.

    So issues like religious influence in public schools were kept local and the national parties simply didn’t get involved. The national debate was between the “ride ’em high” laissez-faire Republicans verses what was left of progressive movement in the (much like today) demoralized Democratic party. Economics (and isolation, trying to keep us from getting affected by the growing economic turmoil in Europe) was everything at the national level.

    That same push in the 60s that “swapped” the Republicans and Democrats in the south (mostly out of reaction to LBJ’s stance on civil rights) also grew the public recognition that federal judges would end that emphasis on the “local” level of self-dominion, and as such the conservatives would therefore have to unite their local and national platforms to be the same, or else the one would eliminate the influence of the other.

    Hence why a President has to assert his religious faith in spite of Article 6.

    But it also explains why a state congressman or local county supervisor has to profess the belief in tax-cuts and the elimination of earmarks, even though it means the state can no longer pay for the basic services that the smaller federal government would no longer provide.

  3. #3 Jim Cooke
    September 8, 2010

    Your esteem for Coolidge will continue to rise, I think, the more you know of him. The letter you quote is from a collection of letters to his father; Coolidge is still a student at Amherst College.
    In a speech to the Massachusetts Senate in 1914 – now, nine years out of college – Coolidge instructs the senators: “Don’t hesitate to be as revolutionary as science. Don’t hesitate to be as reactionary as the multiplication table.” This address is included in Wm. Safire’s – “Lend Me Your Ears” – Great Speeches in History.
    Check out “Silent Cal’s” 1929 Autobiography. Increasingly, it is seen as the best post-presidential writing after Grant’s Memoirs – and Grant had Mark Twain for his editor.

  4. #4 Juice
    September 22, 2010

    The better presidents are actually some of the forgotten ones.

    I think Coolidge was probably the second or third best president after Grover Cleveland and maybe, hmm, can’t think of anyone, seriously.

  5. #5 Sesli Chat
    September 5, 2011

    thanks saygilar efendim

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