Saturday, July 2, 2011

Upon Which I Quote Calvin Coolidge

Yesterday I stumbled across an editorial by Leon Kass (whom I had never read before) wherein he pointed his readers to a remarkable address by former President Calvin Coolidge. The occasion was the 150th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence in 1926.

The speech itself is quite long. I'm including only one short paragraph which follows.

"No one can examine this record (The Declaration) and escape the conclusion that in the great outline of its principles the Declaration was the result of the religious teachings of the preceding period. The profound philosophy which Jonathan Edwards applied to theology, the popular preaching of George Whitefield, had aroused the thought and stirred the people of the Colonies in preparation for this great event. No doubt the speculations which had been going on in England, and especially on the Continent, lent their influence to the general sentiment of the times. Of course, the world is always influenced by all the experience and all the thought of the past. But when we come to a contemplation of the immediate conception of the principles of human relationship which went into the Declaration of Independence we are not required to extend our search beyond our own shores. They are found in the texts, the sermons, and the writings of the early colonial clergy who were earnestly undertaking to instruct their congregations in the great mystery of how to live. They preached equality because they believed in the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man. They justified freedom by the text that we are all created in the divine image, all partakers of the divine spirit."

You can read the Coolidge's complete address here.

Before I conclude, and in conjunction with our Declaration of Independence, I want to recommend to you (we used Netflix) John Adams (HBO Minisiries) (2008). It's a fascinating biography of John Adams, our second President. Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and George Washington are highly featured in the movie as well. It's quite long, a seven-part miniseries on 3 disks, but well worth the watch.


Trisha said...

Thanks for sharing this excerpt. The John Adams movie has been in my queue for a long time. I've been holding out on watching it until I've read the book. :) Hmmm, I'm not sure if I can stick to that pledge.

Have a beautiful weekend!

Maryann said...

The John Adam's series is one of my favorites. I am a bit of a history buff. Thanks for shaing the excert from the Coolidge speech (we,ve come a long way, haven't we)
Happy 4th of July

Marydon said...

I can never get enough history. Love this piece.

TY for you sweet wishes for the little church down our road. The congregation I am sure will rebuild. All that is left is the frame.

Have a wonderful week.

Whidbey Woman said...

Very interesting. Hope you had a wonderful 4th of July. Ron was sick from Chemo but this weekend he feels much better, so we will get out and have some fun!

Kim @ Stuff could... said...

It is fascinating to read what the earlier leaders thought...I like history!