120 Calvin Coolidge Quotes

Learn more about life, business, and governance through this collection of Calvin Coolidge quotes. With more than 100 of his most famous lines and teachings, there’s no doubt that you’ll pick up some valuable lessons from the 30th President of the United States.

Coolidge is famous as a president who lessened the government’s interference with businesses and private corporations—allowing them to grow and prosper on their own. There’s a lot more to learn through his experiences as he led America through what we call the Roaring Twenties, a period of social and cultural change, and excess.

Read the complete list below.

Best Calvin Coolidge Quotes

1. “We cannot do everything at once, but we can do something at once.”

2. “We do not need more intellectual power, we need more spiritual power. We do not need more of the things that are seen, we need more of the things that are unseen.”

3. “It takes a great man to be a good listener.”

4. “The nation which forgets its defenders will be itself forgotten.”

5. “It is hard to see how a great man can be an atheist. Without the sustaining influence of faith in a divine power, we could have little faith in ourselves.”

6. “If we judge ourselves only by our aspirations and everyone else only their conduct, we shall soon reach a very false conclusion.”

7. “Prosperity is only an instrument to be used, not a deity to be worshipped.”

8. “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence.”

9. “No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave.”

10. “Don’t expect to build up the weak by pulling down the strong.”

11. “The slogan, ‘Press On!’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”

12. “It is much more important to kill bad bills than to pass good ones.”

13. “Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind.”

14. “The only way I know to drive out evil from the country is by the constructive method of filling it with good.”

15. “I have noticed that nothing I have never said ever did me any harm.”

16. “Don’t you know that four fifths of all our troubles in this life would disappear if we would just sit down and keep still?”

17. “Faith is the great motive power, and no man realizes his full possibilities unless he has the deep conviction that life is eternally important; and that his work, well done, is a part of an unending plan.”

18. “Patriotism is easy to understand in America; it means looking out for yourself by looking out for your country.”

19. “Wealth comes from industry and from the hard experience of human toil. To dissipate it in waste and extravagance is disloyalty to humanity.”

Calvin Coolidge Quotes on Patriotism, Politics, and Governance

20. “There is no force so democratic as the force of an ideal.”

21. “They criticize me for harping on the obvious; if all the folks in the United States would do the few simple things they know they ought to do, most of our big problems would take care of themselves.”

22. “Heroism is not only in the man, but in the occasion.”

23. “No nation ever had an army large enough to guarantee it against attack in time of peace, or ensure it of victory in time of war.”

24. “We need more of the office desk and less of the show window in politics. Let men in office substitute the midnight oil for the limelight.”

25. “Peace, justice, humanity, charity—these cannot be legislated into being. They are the result of divine grace.”

26. “Perhaps one of the most important accomplishments of my administration has been minding my own business.”

27. “To live under the American Constitution is the greatest political privilege that was ever accorded to the human race.”

28. “Collecting more taxes than is absolutely necessary is legalized robbery.”

29. “Men speak of natural rights, but I challenge anyone to show where in nature any rights existed or were recognized until there was established for their declaration and protection a duly promulgated body of corresponding laws.”

30. “Advertising ministers to the spiritual side of trade. It is a great power that has been entrusted to your keeping which charges you with the high responsibility of inspiring and ennobling the commercial world. It is all part of the greater work of the regeneration and redemption of mankind.”

31. “There is no way by which we can substitute the authority of law for the virtue of man.”

32. “Democracy is not a tearing down; it is a building up. It does not deny the divine right of kings; it asserts the divine right of all men.”

33. “In the discharge of the duties of this office, there is one rule of action more important than all others. It consists in never doing anything that someone else can do for you.”

34. “The only hope of a short war is to prepare for a long one.”

35. “The government of the United States is a device for maintaining, in perpetuity, the rights of the people, with the ultimate extinction of all privileged classes.”

36. “Ultimately, property rights and personal rights are the same thing.”

37. “Those who do not want to be partakers of the American spirit ought not to settle in America.”

38. “There are only two main theories of government in our world. One rests on righteousness and the other on force. One appeals to reason, and the other appeals to the sword. One is exemplified in the republic, the other is represented by despotism.”

39. “The government of a country never gets ahead of the religion of a country.”

Calvin Coolidge Quotes on Life and Man’s Vision

40. “Those who trust to chance must abide by the results of chance.”

41. “I sometimes wish that people would put a little more emphasis upon the observance of the law than they do upon its enforcement.”

42. “Prosperity cannot be divorced from humanity.”

43. “It is only when men begin to worship that they begin to grow.”

44. “I want the people of America to be able to work less for the government and more for themselves. I want them to have the rewards of their own industry. This is the chief meaning of freedom.”

45. “If you don’t say anything, you won’t be called on to repeat it.”

46. “I have found it advisable not to give too much heed to what people say when I am trying to accomplish something of consequence. Invariably, they proclaim it can’t be done. I deem that the very best time is to make the effort.”

47. “There is no dignity quite so impressive, and no one independence quite so important, as living within your means.”

48. “Industry, thrift, and self-control are not sought because they create wealth, but because they create character.”

49. “You can’t know too much, but you can say too much.”

50. “Until we can re-establish a condition under which the earnings of the people can be kept by the people, we are bound to suffer a very severe and distinct curtailment of our liberty.”

51. “The right thing to do never requires any subterfuge, it is always simple and direct.”

52. “When people are bewildered, they tend to become credulous.”

53. “Any man who does not like dogs and wants them about, does not deserve to be in the White House.”

54. “No enterprise can exist for itself alone. It ministers to some great need. It performs some great service, not for itself, but for others; or failing therein, it ceases to be profitable and ceases to exist.”

55. “Doubters do not achieve. Skeptics do not contribute. Cynics do not create.”

56. “We draw our Presidents from the people. It is a wholesome thing for them to return to the people. I came from them. I wish to be one of them again.”

57. “We need to feel that behind us is intelligence and love.”

58. “Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”

59. “I favor the policy of the economy, not because I wish to save money, but because I wish to save people.”

Calvin Coolidge Quotes on Hard Work and Business

60. “All growth depends upon activity. There is no development, physically or intellectually, without effort; and effort means work.”

61. “Workmen’s compensation, hours, and conditions of labor are cold consolations if there is no employment.”

62. “Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers. It may not be difficult to store up in the mind a vast quantity of facts within a comparatively short time, but the ability to form judgments requires the severe discipline of hard work and the tempering heat of experience and maturity.”

63. “Duty is not collective; it is personal.”

64. “Nature is inexorable. If men do not follow the truth, they cannot live.”

65. “Little progress can be made by merely attempting to repress what is evil.”

66. “No man ever listened himself out of a job”

67. “When a great many people are unable to find work, unemployment results.”

68. “Economics is the method by which we prepare today to afford the improvements of tomorrow.”

69. “Mass demand has been created almost entirely through the development of advertising.”

70. “Changing a college curriculum is like moving a graveyard—you never know how many friends the dead have until you try to move them!”

71. “In other periods of depression, it has always been possible to see some things which were solid and upon which you could base hope, but as I look about, I now see nothing to give ground to hope—nothing of man.”

72. “It would be difficult to conceive a finer example of true sport.”

73. “While I do not think it was so intended, I have always been of the opinion that this turned out to be much the best for me. I had no national experience. What I have ever been able to do has been the result of first learning how to do it. I am not gifted with intuition. I need not only hard work but experience to be ready to solve problems. The Presidents who have gone to Washington without first having held some national office have been at great disadvantage.”

74. “Our great hope lies in developing what is good.”

75. “The country is not in good condition.”

76. “Industry cannot flourish if labor languishes.”

77. “Eat it up, make it do, wear it out.”

78. “I guess I am not naturally energetic. I like to sit around and talk.”

79. “It seems to me probable that of all our economic life—the element on which we are inclined to place too low an estimate—is advertising.”

80. “There is far more danger of harm than there is hope of good in any radical changes.”

81. “Do the day’s work. If it be to protect the rights of the weak, whoever objects, do it. If it be to help a powerful corporation better to serve the people, whatever the opposition, do that. Expect to be called a stand-patter, but don’t be a stand-patter. Expect to be called a demagogue, but don’t be a demagogue. Don’t hesitate to be as revolutionary as science. Don’t hesitate to be as reactionary as the multiplication table.”

82. “Don’t hurry to legislate. Give the administration a chance to catch up with legislation.”

83. “When a man begins to feel that he is the only one who can lead in this republic, he is guilty of treason to the spirit of our institutions.”

84. “No matter what anyone may say about making the rich and the corporations pay the taxes, in the end, they come out of the people who toil. It is your fellow workers who are ordered to work for the government every time an appropriation bill is passed. The people pay the expense of the government, often many times over, in the increased cost of living. I want taxes to be less, so that the people may have more.”

85. “The business of America is business, and the chief ideal of the American people is idealism.”

86. “The man who builds a factory builds a temple, that the man who works there worships there; and to each is due not scorn and blame, but reverence and praise.”

87. “Some people are suffering from lack of work, some from lack of water, many more from lack of wisdom.”

88. “Advertising is the life of trade.”

89. “They are profoundly concerned with producing, buying, selling, investing and prospering in the world.”

Calvin Coolidge Quotes on Hope, Humor, and Positivity

90. “If you see ten troubles coming down the road, you can be sure that nine will run into the ditch before they reach you.”

91. “To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.”

92. “We do not need to import any foreign economic ideas or any foreign government. We had better stick to the American brand of government, the American brand of equality, and the American brand of wages. America had better stay American.”

93. “Men do not make laws. They do but discover them.”

94. “I think the American public wants a solemn ass as a president, and I think I’ll go along with them.”

95. “American ideals do not require to be changed so much as they require to be understood and applied.”

96. “The benefit of one is the benefit of all, and the neglect of one is the neglect of all.”

97. “Realizing that we cannot live unto ourselves alone, we have contributed our resources and our counsel to the relief of the suffering and the settlement of the disputes among the European nations. Because of what America is and what America has done, a firmer courage, a higher hope, inspires the heart of all humanity.”

98. “Whatever was grand and beautiful in form and color attracted her.”

99. “Baseball is our national game.”

100. “We need not concern ourselves much about rights of property if we faithfully observe the rights of persons.”

101. “The end would be the destruction of all progress.”

102. “There’s more, much more, to Christmas than candlelight and cheer. It’s the spirit of sweet friendship that brightens all year. It’s thoughtfulness and kindness. It’s hope reborn again, for peace, for understanding, and for goodwill to men!”

103. “The appropriation of public money always is perfectly lovely until someone is asked to pay the bill. If we are to have a billion dollars of navy, half a billion of farm relief, the people will have to furnish more revenue by paying more taxes. It is for them, through their Congress, to decide how far they wish to go.”

104. “The world is full of educated derelicts.”

105. “Civilization and profit go hand in hand.”

106. “These things do not happen by chance. There is much less luck in public affairs than some suppose.”

107. “This country would not be a land of opportunity, America could not be America, if the people were shackled with government monopolies.”

108. “Nobody will ever forget what I’ve accomplished.”

109. “There is only one form of political strategy in which I have any confidence, and that is to try to do the right thing and sometimes be able to succeed.”

110. “There was a touch of mysticism and poetry in her nature which made her love to gaze at the purple sunsets and watch the evening stars.”

111. “The more I see of life, the more I am convinced of the wisdom of that observation.”

112. “It has been my observation in life that, if one will only exercise the patience to wait, his wants are likely to be filled.”

113. “It is characteristic of the unlearned that they are forever proposing something which is old, and because it has recently come to their own attention, supposing it to be new.”

114. “It seems impossible that any man could adequately describe his mother. I cannot describe mine.”

115. “Wherever we look, the work of the chemist has raised the level of our civilization and has increased the productive capacity of our nation.”

116. “It is a very old saying that you never can tell what you can do until you try.”

117. “Fate bestows its rewards on those who put themselves in the proper attitude to receive them.”

118. “Those who wish to proceed in that direction cannot lay claim to progress. They are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient than those of the Revolutionary fathers.”

119. “But this does not detract from the wisdom of his faith in the people and his constant insistence that they be left to manage their own affairs.”

120. “Under the attempt to perform the impossible, there sets a general disintegration.”

What Kind of Worldview Did These Calvin Coolidge Quotes Give You?

There are those who were against Calvin Coolidge’s policies and conservative leadership. However, in his own way, he still got things done. As President Ronald Reagan wrote, ‘He wasn’t a man with flamboyant looks or style, but he got things done in a quiet way.’ Calvin Coolidge’s time in office wasn’t the easiest as he spearheaded development and change after World War I. The country was facing enormous amounts of debt, casualties, and depression. But with his policies, he was able to let business prosper and in turn, eliminate the country’s wartime debt and improve the state of the country.

Do you think Calvin Coolidge’s was an effective and good president? What do you think about his conservative approach to leadership, economy, and labor relations? Let’s have a discussion in the comments section below.

Amy Finn

Hi. I'm Amy, the founder of this blog. I love quotes and enjoy sharing the best ones with you.

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