Today, as we celebrate Independence Day, we would do ourselves well to recall Calvin Coolidge, the only president born on the Fourth of July as did my friend Rick Sincere in his wonderful essay for the Richmond Times Dispatch:
In his 2008 book, The Cult of the Presidency, the Cato Institute’s Gene Healy wrote that Coolidge is remembered “mostly for his reticence and for fiscal policies that combined Yankee parsimony with generous tax cuts.”
That “Yankee parsimony” is on display in a short film that is thought to be the first time a U.S. president appeared in a “talkie” — a movie with sound.
In this four-minute clip. . . , Coolidge says that he wants to “cut down public expense. 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. 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.”
Read the whole thing (and this too).
On this Fourth of July, it is particularly important that we recall that president born on the Fourth of July. He truly got the meaning of Independence and understood the ideals to which our Founders pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor.
Tea Party protestors use language and symbols (e.g. “Don’t Tread on Me” flags) of our founders should be pleased to note that the ideas we express are nearly identical to those expressed by Coolidge in, what is believed to be, “the first presidential film with sound recording“:
So, on this Independence, let us recall the ideals of our Founders and listen to them so well expressed by the one president quite literally (and also figuratively) born on the Fourth of July.