Press Release – For immediate release

Contact: Lisa Downing, Library Director, or 413-587-1016

The Calvin Coolidge Standing Committee of the Forbes Library Board of Trustees voted at its Sept. 11, 2023 meeting to support the joint statement of thirteen presidential foundations and centers “regarding the future of our nation and an urgent call to action for all Americans.” The library’s Board of Trustees also endorsed the statement at its Sept. 21 meeting.

The joint statement, released on Sept. 7, reminds citizens, “As a diverse nation of people with different backgrounds and beliefs, democracy holds us together. We are a country rooted in the rule of law, where the protection of the rights of all people is paramount. At the same time, we live among our fellow citizens, underscoring the importance of compassion, tolerance, pluralism, and respect for others.”  

It goes on to say that “Civility and respect in political discourse, whether in an election year or otherwise, are essential,” warning that the world is watching “our own house in disarray.”

“Each of us has a role to play and responsibilities to uphold,” the statement continues. “Our elected officials must lead by example and govern effectively in ways that deliver for the American people.” The statement admonishes citizens to “engage in civil dialogue; respect democratic institutions and rights; uphold safe, secure, and accessible elections; and contribute to local, state, or national improvement.”

In adding the Coolidge Presidential Library and Museum’s voice to the statement, Standing Committee President J.R. Greene said, “Coolidge was a true conservative, believing that the system of government established by the founding fathers was the best in the world. He stated that, ‘Democracy is obedience to the rule of the people.’ He also spoke of the ‘righteousness of democracy,’ and that ‘its foundation lays hold upon eternity.’ 

Greene added, “Coolidge also observed, ‘the difference between despotism and democracy is not a difference in the requirement of obedience, it is a difference in rulers.’  He stated, ‘We are very proud of our democracy. We are very proud of our form of government. We believe that there is no other nation on earth that gives to the individual the privileges and rights that he has in America.’”

“In light of this philosophy,” Greene concluded, “our board voted unanimously to endorse the Presidential Libraries declaration.”

The joint statement was released by the George W. Bush Presidential Center and was co-signed by presidential centers and foundations from Presidents Hoover through Obama, with the exception of the Eisenhower Foundation. 

Established in 1920, the Calvin Coolidge Presidential Library & Museum collects, preserves and makes available for research materials documenting the public and private life of Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933).  Manuscripts, artifacts and exhibits cover his political career from Northampton to Boston to the White House and his post-presidential years as a Northampton resident. The Collection also includes materials related to Grace Goodhue Coolidge (1879-1957) and sons John (1906-2000) and Calvin Jr. (1908-1924).