A finality that is exceedingly restful.

by w3woody

Speech on the 150th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, by Calvin 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.

There is plenty of room for improvement in our national understanding of equality and freedom.

But plenty of people today believe further progress can be made by going “beyond” the principles of our National Creed, by, for example, instituting a system of socialism whereby our government takes responsibility for our pursuit of happiness.

This isn’t forwards. This is backwards.