Dateline Northampton, Oct. 16, 1930

The former president’s daily column, “Calvin Coolidge Says” urged Depression-era readers to take a historical perspective, which he felt certain would engender an attitude of gratitude rather than complaining. Undoubtedly, appeals of this sort were scoffed at because they seemed to show that Coolidge was out of touch with present times. However, instead of taking for granted the present, and demanding more from the future, it would serve well every generation to take a grateful look at the past (is the humble opinion of this blogger).

We would save ourselves from a great deal of discouragement and impatience if we had a better historical perspective. As a part of the celebration of the tercentary in Massachusetts, much has been published in word and picture to show how people lived in the early days of our country. At Salem a small village has been constructed reproducing the ancient habitations and handwork industries of about three hundred years ago. They show that the bare necessities of existence were about all that the most unremitting toil, hardship and exposure could produce. All that the rich then could afford would be scorned by the wage earners of the present day.

The conditions there exhibited were the usual course of life on this continent until well into the nineteenth century. Now all is changed. Comparatively, we have affluence and luxury on every hand. Free of charge our people have schools, roads, libraries and sanitation; and for a small charge water, lights, transportation and amusements.

More important still, our progress seems cumulative. The last twenty-five years greatly surpasses every other like period. It would be wholesome to think more on these things. It would reduce complaint and increase contentment.

 

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