there is a tie between wealth, individual character, and social progress. "Wealth is the product of industry, ambition, character and untiring effort. In all experience, the accumulation of wealth means the multiplication of schools, the increase of knowledge, the dissemination of intelligence, the encouragement of science, the broadening of outlook, the expansion of liberty, the widening of culture."
Economy is idealism in its most practical form."
In the same speech in which he famously said, "The chief business of the American people is business," Coolidge also argued, "The accumulation of wealth cannot be justified as the chief end of existence." Elsewhere he noted, "Industry, thrift and self-control are not sought because they create wealth, but because they create character."
No society, he believed, can be prosperous or successful in the absence of moral conviction. In essence, the common good requires that goodness be common. "Mere intelligence," he said, "is not enough. Enlightenment must be accompanied by that moral power which is the product of home and religion. Real education and true welfare for the people rest inevitably on this foundation, which the government can approve and command, but which the people themselves must create."
Coolidge was committed to religious freedom, stating that the "fundamental precept of liberty is toleration." But he also noted, "The foundations of our society and our government rest so much on the teachings of the Bible that it would be difficult to support them if faith in these teachings would cease to be practically universal in our country."
"No other theory is adequate to explain or comprehend the Declaration of Independence," he said.
It is the product of the spiritual insight of the people. We live in an age of science and of abounding accumulation of material things. These did not create our Declaration. Our Declaration created them. The things of the spirit come first. Unless we cling to that, all our material prosperity, overwhelming though it may appear, will turn to a barren scepter in our grasp. If we are to maintain the great heritage which has been bequeathed to us, we must be like-minded as the fathers who created it. We must not sink into pagan materialism. We must cultivate the reverence which they had for the things which are holy. We must follow the spiritual and moral leadership which they showed.
We do not need more intellectual power, we need more moral power. We do not need more knowledge, we need more character. We do not need more government, we need more culture. We do not need more law, we need more religion. We do not need more of the things that are seen, we need more of the things that are unseen. If the foundation be firm, the foundation will stand.