Happy Birthday, America! and President Calvin Coolidge

United_States_Declaration_of_IndependenceThe American War of Independence, aka the American Revolutionary War (April 19, 1775 – September 3, 1783), was fought by the thirteen colonies of British America against the British Empire then ruled by King George III. 

On July 2nd of 1776, the Second Continental Congress, a meeting of delegates from the thirteen colonies, voted for independence from Britain, and two days later, on the 4th of July the Declaration of Independence was adopted in a meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Thomas Jefferson was the principle author of the declaration. 

“By the time that the Declaration of Independence was adopted in July 1776, the Thirteen Colonies and Great Britain had been at war for more than a year. Relations had been deteriorating between the colonies and the mother country since 1763. Parliament enacted a series of measures to increase revenue from the colonies, such as the Stamp Act of 1765 and the Townshend Acts of 1767. Parliament believed that these acts were a legitimate means of having the colonies pay their fair share of the costs to keep them in the British Empire.” [Wiki.]

Here’s the core principle that’s at the heart of the declaration:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government.

This gave birth to the United States of America. America was conceived in a vision of individual liberty. In the words of Margaret Thatcher, “Europe was created by history. America was created by philosophy.” The philosophy was that of the Founding Fathers — and it was essentially libertarian.

Many American presidents have understood that in the past but now the US is losing its way. One president that I especially admire is Calvin Coolidge who held the office 1923 to 1929 as the 30th president of the United States. He too was born on 4th of July, in 1872. Here’s a selection of his quotes:[1]

“I am for economy. After that I am for more economy.”

“I favor the policy of economy, not because I wish to save money, but because I wish to save people. The men and women of this country who toil are the ones who bear the cost of the Government. Every dollar that we carelessly waste means that their life will be so much the more meager. Every dollar that we prudently save means that their life will be so much the more abundant. Economy is idealism in its most practical form.”

“Our government belongs to the people. Our property belongs to the people…They own it. The taxes are paid by the people. They bear the burden. The benefits of government must accrue to the people. Not to one class, but to all classes, to all the people. The functions, the power, the sovereignty of the government, must be kept where they have been placed by the Constitution and laws of the people.”

“Self-government means self-support. Man is born into the universe with a personality that is his own. He has a right that is founded upon the constitution of the universe to have property that is his own. Ultimately, property rights and personal rights are the same thing. The one cannot be preserved if the other be violated. Each man is entitled to his rights and the rewards of his service be they never so large or never so small.”

“The attempt to regulate, control and prescribe all manner of conduct and social relations is very old. It was always the practice of primitive peoples. Such governments assumed jurisdiction over the action, property, life, and even religious convictions of their citizens down to the minutest detail. A large part of the history of free institutions is the history of the people struggling to emancipate themselves from all this bondage.”

“There is no magic in government not possessed by the public at large by which these things can be done. The people cannot divest themselves of their really great burdens by undertaking to provide that they shall hereafter be borne by the government.”

“About the Declaration there is a finality that is exceedingly restful. … If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward a time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. 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 our Revolutionary ancestors.”

Coolidge was a giant of a man. In contrast, the present holder of the office is a senile, stupid pygmy. I fear for the nation.[2] But for now, let’s celebrate the birth of a nation that is arguably the greatest the world has ever seen.

Happy Birthday, America, and Happy Birthday dear President Calvin Coolidge. 

Related post: From January 2006, “Lights to Navigate by.”


[1] From the FEE article “Meet the Only President Born on the 4th of July” by Lawrence Reed.

[2] The fear that I feel from America is nothing new. Even rock musicians have pointed it out. The Canadian-American band Steppenwolf had a medley “Monster/Suicide/America.” It’s long. Written in 1969 — 52 years ago — it is a lesson in history. Click here (YouTube) for the song and follow along with the lyrics below. 

I am not going to lie to you — the last verse gives me the goosebumps and moistens my eyes. They don’t write them like this any more.

Once the religious, the hunted and weary [People came to the US to escape religious persecution.]
Chasing the promise of freedom and hope
Came to this country to build a new vision
Far from the reaches of kingdom and pope

Like good Christians, some would burn the witches
Later some got slaves to gather riches

But still from near and far to seek America
They came by thousands to court the wild
But she just patiently smiled and bore a child
To be their spirit and guiding light

And once the ties with the crown had been broken [1776 Declaration of Independence.]
Westward in saddle and wagon it went
And ’til the railroad linked ocean to ocean
Many the lives which had come to an end

While we bullied, stole and bought our a homeland [The Native Americans lost their land.]
We began the slaughter of the red man

But still from near and far to seek America
They came by thousands to court the wild
But she just patiently smiled and bore a child
To be their spirit and guiding light

The blue and grey they stomped it [The American Civil War 1861-65.]
They kicked it just like a dog
And when the war was over
They stuffed it just like a hog

And though the past has it’s share of injustice [Slavery.]
Kind was the spirit in many a way
But it’s protectors and friends have been sleeping
Now it’s a monster and will not obey


The spirit was freedom and justice
And it’s keepers seemed generous and kind
It’s leaders were supposed to serve the country
But now they won’t, pay it no mind
‘Cause the people grew fat and got lazy
Now their vote is a meaningless joke
They babble about law and order
But it’s all just an echo of what they’ve been told

Yeah, there’s a monster on the loose
It’s got our heads into the noose
And it just sits there watching

The cities have turned into jungles
And corruption is strangling the land
The police force is watching the people
And the people just can’t understand
We don’t know how to mind our own business [Foreign wars.]
‘Cause the whole world’s got to be just like us
Now we are fighting a war over there
No matter who’s the winner, we can’t pay the cost

‘Cause there’s a monster on the loose
It’s got our heads into the noose
And it just sits there, watching


America, where are you now?
Don’t you care about your sons and daughters?
Don’t you know, we need you now
We can’t fight alone against the monster

Like I said before, the last verse gets me in the heart. Listen.

Author: Atanu Dey


One thought on “Happy Birthday, America! and President Calvin Coolidge”

  1. With a ll its defects, is it still better to have the christian USa being the sole world superpower these last 50+ years rather than an atheist USSR or china, a muslim saudi, a hindu india, an agnostic europe, a buddhist japan?

    of all religions, maybe christians are the least damaging for the world to survive?
    no wonder people of other religions flock there….and to europe


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