Coolidge on Law and Order

Not surprisingly, for the man who stood down the Boston police strike of 1919, Calvin Coolidge was a staunch defender of law and order, frequently stressing the supremacy of law in his speeches.

Accepting the Gold Medal from the National Institute of Social Sciences in January 1921, he said in part,

“It is no accident that the people of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts believe in law and order. It is their heritage. When the Pilgrim Fathers landed there in 1620 they brought ashore with them the Mayflower Compact which they had drawn up in the cabin of that little bark under the witness of the Almighty, in which they pledged themselves, one to another, to make just and equitable laws, and not only to make them but when they were made, to abide by them.”

And again later that same year when addressing the Convention of the American Legion in Kansas City, he noted,

“The sole guaranty of liberty is obedience to the law in the form of ordered government. The observance of law is the function of every private citizen, but the execution of the law is the function only of duly constituted public authorities.”

Edward E. Whiting felt that the theme of law and order was indeed one that constituted a thread of thought that appeared with great frequency throughout Coolidge’s speeches and writings: “Mr. Coolidge always counts upon the American respect for law. It has never failed him.”

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