April 07, 2021

The origins of the “The Domino Effect”…


Contrary to what
many sites on the Internet say, President Dwight D. Eisenhower did not coin the famous Cold War term “the Domino Effect.” 

He did use the phrase “falling domino principle” in a famous press conference on April 7, 1954.

Journalists at the time dubbed this “The Domino Theory,” which later came to be referred to as “the Domino Effect.”

The political concept encapsulated by those terms — the idea that if one country fell to the control of Communists, then nearby countries could follow — was a major foundation of America’s foreign policy during the Cold War years, which lasted from 1947 until the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.

This concern was initially raised by President Truman’s Undersecretary of State, Dean Acheson.

In 1947, the government of Greece faced threats from Communist insurgents and Turkey seemed to be falling under the sway of the Soviet Union. Acheson warned in various public statements that, if the “Reds” took over in Greece and Turkey, Communism would likely spread south to Iran and as far east as India.

To counter this threat, President Truman asked Congress to approve $400 million in military and economic assistance for Greece and Turkey and proposed an anti-Communist policy eventually referred to as “The Truman Doctrine.” 

“It must be the policy of the United States,” Truman explained in a high-profile speech to Congress, “to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures.”

President Eisenhower, Truman’s successor, agreed with the Truman Doctrine’s goal of containing the spread of Communism. And, early  in his first term in office, he was forced to consider the need to apply that doctrine to Southeast Asia.

By 1954, France was on the verge of losing control of its colony Indochina (later called Vietnam) to Communist insurgents led by Ho Chi Minh. Eisenhower and his administration worried that if Indochina fell to Communist control, other Southeast Asian countries would follow.

During a White House press conference on April 7, 1954, reporter Robert Richards of the Copley Press asked Eisenhower: “Mr. President, would you mind commenting on the strategic importance of Indochina for the free world? I think there has been, across the country, some lack of understanding on just what it means to us.”

Eisenhower famously responded:

“You have, of course, both the specific and the general when you talk about such things. First of all, you have the specific value of a locality in its production of materials that the world needs.

Then you have the possibility that many human beings pass under a dictatorship that is inimical to the free world.

Finally, you have broader considerations that might follow what you would call ‘the falling domino principle.’ You have a row of dominoes set up, you knock over the first one, and what will happen to the last one is the certainty that it will go over very quickly. So you could have a beginning of a disintegration that would have the most profound influences.”

Eisenhower said this disintegration would lead to the “loss of Indochina, of Burma, of Thailand, of the Peninsula, and Indonesia following.”

In many news stories, reporters referred to Eisenhower’s falling domino principle as “the Domino Theory” or as “the Domino Effect.” The latter was a term that journalists Joseph and Stewart Alsop used in their popular syndicated newspaper column and claimed to have coined.

A month after Eisenhower made his famous remarks in 1954, Vietminh forces under General Vo Nguyen Giap defeated French troops at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu.

France soon ceded control of its former colony. And, under an agreement hammered out in Geneva, Indochina was partitioned into Communist-controlled North Vietnam and non-Communist South Vietnam.

In the following years, Eisenhower provided economic assistance and weapons to the fledgling South Vietnamese government and sent in a small number of American military advisors.

During the early 1960s, President John F. Kennedy significantly expanded U.S. economic and military assistance to South Vietnam and increased the number of military advisors there to more than 16,000.

These decisions by Eisenhower and Kennedy set in motion a political and military domino effect that ultimately led to the Vietnam War.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Comments? Corrections? Questions? Email me or post them on my Famous Quotations Facebook page.

Related reading and viewing…

April 02, 2021

“Open the pod bay doors, HAL.”

Open the pod bay doors Hal
On April 6, 1968, director Stanley Kubrick’s visionary science fiction film 2001: A Space Odyssey was released to movie theaters nationwide in the United States.

The film, developed from the short story “Sentinel” by Arthur C. Clarke, had its initial premiere in Washington, D.C. on April 2nd, followed by local premieres in New York City and Los Angeles.

On April 6th, with the film’s general release, movie audiences throughout the country first heard several memorable lines that are cited by many books and websites as being among the most famous movie quotes of all time.

The most widely-known (and spoofed) line from 2001 is spoken by astronaut David Bowman (actor Kier Dullea).

He says it to HAL, the sentient HAL 9000 computer on the US space craft Discovery One, which is on a mysterious mission to Jupiter. (The name HAL is short for “the H-euristically programmed AL-gorithmic computer.”)

It comes near the end of the movie, after HAL begins killing off the ship’s crew.

Bowman takes a small space pod outside to retrieve the body of fellow astronaut Frank Poole (Gary Lockwood).

As Bowman returns to the ship, he asks HAL to let him back inside with the famous line: “Open the pod bay doors, HAL.”

This leads to one of most chilling exchanges in movie history:

2001 A Space Odyssey (1968) poster by Robert McCallDAVE:  Open the pod bay doors, Hal.
HAL:  I’m sorry, Dave. I’m afraid I can’t do that.
DAVE:  What’s the problem?
HAL:  l think you know what the problem is just as well as l do.
DAVE:  What are you talking about, Hal?
HAL:  This mission is too important for me to allow you to jeopardize it.
DAVE:  I don’t know what you're talking about, Hal.
HAL:  l know that you and Frank were planning to disconnect me, and I’m afraid that's something I can’t allow to happen.
DAVE:  Where the hell’d you get that idea, Hal?
HAL:  Although you took very thorough precautions in the pod against my hearing you, I could see your lips move.
DAVE:  All right, Hal. I’ll go in through the emergency air lock.
HAL:  Without your space helmet, Dave, you’re going to find that rather difficult.
DAVE:  Hal, I won’t argue with you anymore. Open the doors!
HAL:  Dave...This conversation can serve no purpose anymore. Goodbye.

Dave uses a desperate maneuver to get back into the spaceship, without the helmet he’d left behind. He then heads determinedly to the room that houses HAL’s “brain,” and begins to shut down the rogue AI computer.

During the shutdown process, HAL senses what’s happening and utters one of the other famous lines from the film:

       “Dave, my mind is going. I can feel it.”

As HAL’s mind goes, he begins singing the old song “Daisy Bell,” which he was taught by his programmers:

       “Daisy, Daisy, Give me your answer do.
        I’m half crazy, all for the love of you.”

After HAL’s mind is fully gone, the minds of the movies’ viewers are blown away by the final scenes.

First comes the psychedelic “star gate” sequence, then a series of scenes showing Dave Bowman aging, dying, and finally being reborn as a shining “space baby.”

Would you like me to tell you what it all means?

I’m sorry, folks, I’m afraid I can’t do that.    

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Comments? Corrections? Questions? Email me or post them on my Famous Quotations Facebook page.

Further reading and viewing:

 

March 25, 2021

The story behind the famous movie misquote: “Me Tarzan, you Jane.”


On March 25, 1932, the classic film Tarzan the Ape Man, starring former Olympic swimmer
Johnny Weissmuller as Tarzan, premiered in New York City.

The famous movie misquote associated with this movie is “Me Tarzan, you Jane.”

It’s a misquote because Weissmuller didn’t actually say the line in that film or any of the other Tarzan movies he starred in between 1932 and 1948.

Nor does the line “Me Tarzan, you Jane” appear in any of the original Tarzan stories or books written by Edgar Rice Burroughs.

But Weissmuller did say it, jokingly, in an interview published in the June 1932 issue of Photoplay magazine.

He told the Photoplay reporter:

     “I didn’t have to act in Tarzan, the Ape Man — just said, ‘Me Tarzan, you Jane.’”

After that, his quip became an oft-used comic catchphrase that many people mistakenly assume came from one of Weissmuller’s Tarzan movies.

Another Hollywood star who used the line for humorous effect was Weissmuller’s second wife, the exotic Mexican dancer and actress Lupe Velez, the “Mexican Spitfire.

Velez was married to Weissmuller for five tempestuous years in the 1930s, at the height of his fame and hers. Their fights were legendary.

After their divorce, Velez joked that she spoke English poorly because “I was married to a guy who can only say, ‘Me Tarzan, you Jane.’”

When Weissmuller died in 1984, the Associated Press obituary for him noted that a reporter once asked him to explain his movie success, given his lack of acting skills.

Weissmuller responded, this time seriously: “How can a guy climb trees, say ‘Me, Tarzan, you, Jane,’ and make a million? The public forgives my acting because they know I was an athlete. They know I wasn’t make-believe.”

Of course, if you’re a true Tarzan fan, you probably know that Weissmuller’s “Me Tarzan, you Jane” quip is a take-off on a humorous scene in his 1932 film Tarzan the Ape Man.

In that scene, Tarzan learns the words me, you, Jane and Tarzan, though he doesn’t put them together in the famous formulation.

After Tarzan saves Jane (actress Maureen O’Sullivan) from a leopard, she tries to communicate with him.

The resulting conversation is almost like an Abbott and Costello comedy routine.

JANE: “Thank you for protecting me.”

TARZAN: “Me?”

JANE: “I said, thank you for protecting me.”

TARZAN: (Pointing at her.) “Me?”

JANE: “No. I’m only ‘Me’ for me.”

TARZAN: (Pointing at Jane again.) “Me.”

JANE: “No. To you, I’m ‘You.’”

TARZAN: (Pointing at himself.) “You.”

JANE: “No. I’m Jane Parker. Understand? Jane. Jane.”

TARZAN: (Pointing at her.) “Jane. Jane. Jane.”

JANE: “Yes, Jane! (She points at him.) And, you? (She points at herself again.) Jane.”

TARZAN: (Pointing at her) “Jane.”

JANE: “And you? (Pointing at him.) You?”

TARZAN: (Jabbing himself in the chest.) “Tarzan! Tarzan!”

JANE: “Tarzan!”

TARZAN: (Pointing at her and them himself.) “Jane. Tarzan.”

At this point, Weissmuller begins repeatedly poking her chest, then his own, saying “Jane. Tarzan. Jane. Tarzan.” — faster and faster — until O’Sullivan finally begs him to stop.

Of course, in the original Tarzan stories by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Tarzan spoke a number of languages fluently — including grammatically correct English.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Comments? Corrections? Post them on my Famous Quotations Facebook page or send me an email.

More related reading…

March 14, 2021

“I'll make him an offer he can't refuse.”


I'm a big fan of the Mario Puzo’s 1969 novel The Godfather and the movie that was made from it in 1972.

I am also a big fan of vintage men’s adventure magazines. In fact, I write a blog about them (MensPulpMags.com).

I also co-edit anthologies of classic men’s adventure magazine stories for the Men’s Adventure Library book series published by New Texture Books.

If you’re not a fan of those venerable periodicals from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, you may not know that Mario Puzo made his living writing wild action and adventure stories for them before The Godfather made him famous.

Puzo wrote some of his men’s adventure yarns under his own name. But the majority were written under the pseudonym “Mario Cleri.”

And he wrote a lot of them. I’d guesstimate around 200. (An example of a men’s adventure yarn Puzo wrote under the pen name Mario Cleri, featuring artwork by Gil Cohen, is shown below.)

Most of those stories appeared in men’s adventure magazines published by subsidiaries of Magazine Management, the publishing company owned by Martin Goodman.

Magazine Management put out some of the best men’s adventure mags, such as Action for Men, For Men Only, Male, Man’s World, Men and Stag. (It also launched Marvel Comics.)

Puzo was hired as a Magazine Management writer around 1959 by Bruce Jay Friedman, another talented writer who worked for the company before he became a world famous novelist (and playwright and scriptwriter). At the time, Friedman was the editor of several of the company’s men’s adventure magazines and its Playboy competitor, Swank

Mario Puzo Godfather in MALE, August 1969Puzo had written one novel before joining the Magazine Management staff. He wrote several others in his spare time while working for the company in the 1960s.

But he didn’t become successful as a novelist until 1969, when his fifth novel, The Godfather, was published on March 10 of that year by Putnam’s.

The iconic cover of the novel with the hand holding the marionette control bar (later used for the movie posters) was designed by S. Neil Fujita.

Not long after The Godfather was published, Puzo stopped writing for men’s adventure magazines. But he maintained warm relations with Magazine Management.

In August 1969 an abridged version of The Godfather was featured in the August 1969 issue of Male, along with an outstanding Godfather-themed cover painting by Mort Kunstler (shown at right) and equally cool interior illustrations by Earl Norem (shown below).

Puzo didn’t reach the height of his fame until a few years later, after the movie became a critical smash and box office blockbuster.

Although the movie is a fairly faithful adaptation of the novel by Hollywood standards, largely because Puzo co-wrote the script with director Francis Ford Coppola, there are some differences. One is related to the movie’s best known line.

Early in the novel, the Italian singer and actor Johnny Fontane tells Mafia “Godfather” Don Vito Corleone that a Hollywood movie executive had refused to give him a role he wanted in an upcoming film.

Don Corleone tells Johnny he’ll convince the studio executive to change his mind. When Johnny seems skeptical, Corleone gives a simple explanation of why he’s confident:

“He’s a businessman,” the Don said blandly. “I’ll make him an offer he can't refuse.”

Corleone sends his consigliere, Tom Hagen, to visit the studio exec and make a seemingly polite request to have Johnny reconsidered for the movie role.

The studio exec refuses, haughtily and hotly.

Soon after that, he finds the severed head of his prized stud racehorse in his bed—and quickly decides to give Johnny the role.

Mario Puzo story as Mario Cleri, MALE, Feb 1967Mario Puzo's The Godfather in MALE August 1969

Later in the novel, after Vito’s son Michael Corleone takes over the family business, Michael predicts that another mobster who had declined the family’s offer to buy his casino will change his mind.

Echoing his father, Michael says simply: “I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse.”

Soon, that mobster is dead and Michael’s family owns the casino.

As you probably know, these same events are played out in the movie version of The Godfather, which was released in the USA on March 15, 1972.

In the movie, the famous “offer” line used by Marlon Brando, as Don Vito Corleone, is not quite the same as in the book.

Brando says: “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse.”

Later in the film, Al Pacino, as Michael, says the same line that Vito and Michael say in Puzo’s novel: “I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse.”

When The Godfather debuted in movie theaters, it was an immediate hit. It was soon a huge one that broke multiple box office records.

Almost overnight, “an offer he can’t refuse” became a national catchphrase.

Of course, in the novel and film the “offer” is a veiled threat used with chilling effect.

As part of our language, mentions of offers that can’t be refused are now typically used more for humorous effect.

One mob-related example is in HBO’s mob family series The Sopranos.

In Episode 4, the character Uncle Junior (played by Dominic Chianese) tells what he views as a funny joke:

“You hear about the Chinese Godfather? He made them an offer they couldn’t understand.”

If any members of a Chinese Tong are reading this, please don’t send me any offers.

I admit Junior’s quip did make me chuckle a little when I watched that episode. But I know it’s not funny at all and I promise never repeat it again. I swear.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     * 

Comments? Corrections? Post them on the Famous Quotations Facebook page.

Related reading…

February 27, 2021

The story behind “Comin’ in on a wing and a prayer”


The idiomatic expression “on a wing and a prayer” is a now widely used to describe doing something under extremely difficult or disadvantageous circumstances and hoping that sheer luck, determination and/or God will allow its success.

During World War II, when the phrase first became part of the English language, it had a literal application.

It referred to Allied airmen flying back to their base in damaged planes, hoping and praying that they’d make it.

In his Dictionary of Catch Phrases (first published in 1977), the great language maven Eric Partridge speculated that “a wing and a prayer” was originally associated with the British Royal Air Force.

He thought it might have been used by RAF pilots as early as 1940.

That’s possible. But there are no newspapers or other sources I could find online that used the phrase prior to 1943, which is when it was made famous by an American song inspired by news stories about an American bomber crew.

On February 26, 1943, a B-17 “Flying Fortress” bomber piloted by Hugh G. Ashcraft, Jr. of Charlotte, North Carolina was limping back from a bombing mission in Germany to an American base in England.

The plane, dubbed The Southern Comfort by its crew, had been riddled by flak and was damaged severely, “with a hole four feet square in the rudder, the nose shattered and the Number 3 engine spewing oil and flames.”

As they approached the shores of Britain, Ashcraft told his men over the radio: “Those who want to, please pray.”

Miraculously, Ashcraft got the The Southern Comfort to its home base and landed it safely, generating news in his home state of North Carolina and elsewhere about the pilot and crew that “prayed” their plane back.

The incident made Ashcraft a local celebrity. After the war, he became the first president of the Harris Teeter chain of supermarkets, which was first established in North Carolina and grew to have 243 stores in seven states.

The stories about Ashcraft’s cool-headed bravery and his suggestion to pray inspired the songwriting team Harold Adamson and Jimmy McHugh to write a new patriotic song.

The catchy phrase that popped into the mind of Adamson, the lyricist, was “Comin’ in on a Wing and a Prayer.”

He used it as the title of the song and in the chorus, which goes:

“Comin’ in on a wing and a prayer.
Comin’ in on a wing and a prayer.
Though there’s one motor gone, we can still carry on,
Comin’ in on a wing and a prayer.”

The first popular version of the song, recorded by The Song Spinners, was released in June 1943.

Their version quickly became a hit. Soon, the song was being recorded and performed live by a long list of other singers, groups and bands, making it one of the biggest hits of the year.

One of the hippest versions recorded in 1943 was by a black vocal group from Missouri called The Four Vagabonds. (If you haven’t heard it, get hip by clicking this link to listen to it.)

I also personally love the far more recent cover of the song by Ry Cooder, on his 1972 album Boomer's Story.

If you’re a World War II history buff, you may know that the song also inspired the title of the 1944 movie Wing and a Prayer (a.k.a. A Wing and a Prayer: The Story of Carrier X).

That classic film, starring Dana Andrews and Don Ameche, is about American aircraft crews. However, it’s set in 1942 in the Pacific theater and is not about The Southern Comfort or B-17s.

If you’re highly-knowledgeable about aviation history, like my late friend writer Robert F. Dorr, you may know the aircraft primarily featured in the film are Grumman TBF Avenger torpedo bombers, Grumman F6F Hellcat fighters and Curtiss SB2C Helldiver dive bombers. You’d have to be a serious expert on planes, like Bob, or a student of anachronisms in movies, to know those planes weren’t actually used on U.S. Navy carriers until 1943.

Anyway, the fame of Adamson and McHugh’s hit song of 1943, which lent its title to a popular film the following year, firmly embedded “a wing and a prayer” in our language.

It’s a phrase that’s still familiar to most people, even if they’ve never heard the song or the story behind it.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Comments? Corrections? Post them on my Famous Quotations Facebook page or send me an email.

Related reading, listening and viewing…

February 02, 2021

“Only God can make a tree.” But Joyce Kilmer’s poem inspired many people to plant and preserve them…


On a chilly winter afternoon in 1913, at his home in New Jersey, poet Joyce Kilmer jotted down the first two lines of a new poem in his notebook, along with the date — February 2, 1913.

Those two lines went on to become among the most famous, most inspiring and most mocked bits of American verse in history:

       “I think that I shall never see
        A poem lovely as a tree.”

The rest of Kilmer’s well-known poem “Trees” was written on a following page of the notebook.

It was first published in the August 1913 issue Poetry Magazine. In 1914, it was included and featured in his second book of poetry, Trees and Other Poems.

Kilmer was already a successful poet, journalist and lecturer in 1914. But it was “Trees” that gave him broad and lasting fame.

Unfortunately, he didn’t live to see just how famous and impactful the poem would become.

When America entered World War I in 1917, Kilmer enlisted. On July 20, 1918, he was killed at age 31 by a German sniper during the Second Battle of the Marne on the Western Front.

In the decades since Kilmer’s death, “Trees” has been reprinted in countless collections of poetry. It became one of the standard poems taught to and recited by American school children.

In 1922, composer Oscar Rasbach turned it into a song that has been recorded by many popular singers and musicians, including Nelson Eddy, Robert Merrill, Paul Robeson, Mario Lanza and Julian Lloyd Webber.

More importantly, the poem helped inspire tree planting programs and forest preservation efforts in the U.S.

It has long been one of the primary pieces of literature that the Arbor Day Foundation uses to promote National Arbor Day, which is celebrated each year on the last Friday in April. (Many states observe Arbor Day on different dates depending on best tree planting times in their area.)

Each year on Arbor Day, the Foundation honors people who make notable efforts to plant and protect trees by giving them a “Joyce Kilmer Award.”

Kilmer was a devout Catholic and his spiritual nature is reflected in the last two lines of “Trees,” which are nearly as famous as the first two lines:

       “Poems are made by fools like me,
        But only God can make a tree.”

Scholars have noted that Kilmer may have unconsciously or knowingly plagiarized those final lines.

In 1908 and 1909, before becoming an established poet, Kilmer was a school teacher.

It’s likely that he had read or heard about a popular book about children published in 1907, Labour and Childhood, written by the pioneering British children’s health advocate Margaret McMillan.

McMillan encouraged outdoor activities for children. In her 1907 book, using the current British term for indoor school equipment, apparatus, she wrote: “Apparatus can be made by fools, but only God can make a tree.”

Of course, many critics have also lambasted “Trees” and Kilmer’s other poems for being simplistic, stylistically outdated, syrupy, sentimental and (punningly) sappy.

Since 1986, The Philolexian Society of Columbia University, a college literary society of which Kilmer was once vice president, has held an annual “Joyce Kilmer Memorial Bad Poetry Contest.”

Yet it’s hard to deny that the simple, but poignant and memorable, lines in Kilmer’s poem “Trees” have inspired millions of people to adopt a more reverent attitude toward trees and nature and helped encourage the planting and protection of millions of trees.

That’s not a bad legacy.

So, to Kilmer’s critics I say: What have YOU ever written that will be remembered, inspire millions of people and benefit the environment decades later?

Some links worth exploring:

• The complete text of Kilmer’s book Trees and Other Poems.

RisingDove.com, the website about Joyce Kilmer and his family, maintained by his granddaughter.

• The book A Cave of Candles: The Story Behind Notre Dame's Grotto by Dorothy V. Corson. In her research for the book, Corson tracked down the date when “Trees” was written and other interesting background facts about the poem by talking to Kilmer’s oldest son Kenton. (That excerpt is online here.)

• The Kilmer House website

• The more than 100 videos on YouTube inspired by Kilmer’s poem “Trees”

• Web page about the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest in North Carolina, a 17,000 acre tract of forest land preserved in Kilmer's memory in 1936.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Comments? Corrections? Post them on my Famous Quotations Facebook page or send me an email.

More related reading…

January 17, 2021

“The business of America is business” – a famously unfair misquote…


When President Warren G. Harding died from a heart-related problem in 1923, Vice President Calvin Coolidge became the 30th President of the United States.

The following year, with his popularity buoyed by a strong economy of the “Roaring Twenties”, Coolidge handily won the 1924 presidential election, using the campaign slogan “Keep Cool With Coolidge.”

Unlike some presidents, “Silent Cal” Coolidge wasn’t known for making memorable statements.

The most famous quote associated with him is a line about business being the business of America.

That line is often given as “The business of America is business” or “The business of the American people is business.”

In fact, both of those versions are misquotes.

They aren’t radically different from what he actually said, which was “the chief business of the American people is business.”

However, when this short quote or the misquote versions are cited alone, out of context, they tend to give the inaccurate impression that Coolidge was a totally one-dimensional, pro-business cheerleader.

President Coolidge made his famous remark in an address to the Society of American Newspaper Editors on January 17, 1925 in Washington, D.C.

The speech he gave that day was titled “The Press Under a Free Government.” It focused on the role of the press in free market democracies, like America.

Coolidge noted that the press was far more likely to publish propaganda in autocratic or Socialist countries.

He acknowledged concerns about whether business considerations could affect editorial positions and news reporting in a society like the US. But he pointed out the flip side, saying:

“There does not seem to be cause for alarm in the dual relationship of the press to the public, whereby it is on one side a purveyor of information and opinion and on the other side a purely business enterprise. Rather, it is probable that a press which maintains an intimate touch with the business currents of the nation, is likely to be more reliable than it would be if it were a stranger to these influences.”

Then Coolidge added his famous quote:

“After all, the chief business of the American people is business. They are profoundly concerned with producing, buying, selling, investing and prospering in the world. I am strongly of the opinion that the great majority of people will always find these the moving impulses of our life.”

It’s hard to dispute the notion that most Americans are concerned about the economy and personal prosperity. And, Coolidge made it clear that he didn't simply mean “greed is good.”

“Of course, the accumulation of wealth cannot be justified as the chief end of existence,” he said. “But we are compelled to recognize it as a means to well-nigh every desirable achievement. So long as wealth is made the means and not the end, we need not greatly fear it...But it calls for additional effort to avoid even the appearance of the evil of selfishness. In every worthy profession, of course, there will always be a minority who will appeal to the baser instinct. There always have been, probably always will be, some who will feel that their own temporary interest may be furthered by betraying the interest of others.”

It’s true that Coolidge was generally a pro-business, small-government type politician; sort of a Ronald Reagan without charisma.

But, in my opinion, the spin that is often put on his famous quote about the business of America is clearly overly simplistic and unfair.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Comments? Corrections? Post them on my Famous Quotations Facebook page or send me an email.

Related reading…

Copyrights, Disclaimers & Privacy Policy


Copyright © Subtropic Productions LLC

All original text written for the This Day in Quotes quotations blog is copyrighted by the Subtropic Productions LLC and may not be used without permission, except for short "fair use" excerpts or quotes which, if used, must be attributed to ThisDayinQuotes.com and, if online, must include a link to http://www.ThisDayinQuotes.com/.

To the best of our knowledge, the non-original content posted here is used in a way that is allowed under the fair use doctrine. If you own the copyright to something posted here and believe we may have violated fair use standards, please let us know.

Subtropic Productions LLC and ThisDayinQuotes.com is committed to protecting your privacy. For more details, read this blog's full Privacy Policy.