Whenever friends and family find out the subject of my new book, one of the first questions I am usually asked is: “Why Grover Cleveland?” My answer: “Why not?” For Grover Cleveland, who served as both the 22nd and 24th President of the United States, was one of the greatest conservative statesmen in American history, a steadfast advocate of Jeffersonian political principles, the bedrock of conservatism. The Last Jeffersonian: Grover Cleveland and the Path to Restoring the Republic is an examination of the true nature of conservative thought, exemplified by the public life of Cleveland, and a pathway to a restoration of the republic crafted by our Founding Fathers.
During my first semester of graduate school, at the University of Southern Mississippi, I became seriously interested in Grover Cleveland and his political life after reading a less than stellar biography. As I delved deeper into his policies, I soon realized that the career of this forgotten statesman offers answers to modern America’s most pressing political issues, such as the public character and behavior of our politicians, direct governmental assistance to the people, actions during an economic depression, foreign intervention, and upholding political principles. It is only with the study of history, and the solutions Cleveland provided for us, that we can solve our problems and restore the constitutional republic.
In the 1890s, Cleveland saw two grave issues facing America – the danger posed by the growing progressive movement and a major party to strongly stand against it. I see those same problems plaguing the nation in 2012. First, the United States is on a downward spiral, as Obama and his socialistic policies are surely sinking America’s ship of state. We need Jeffersonian principles to re-chart a course out of rough seas and away from dangerous rocks.
Second, the Republican Party, which has become the home to conservative doctrine, is no longer advocating the timeless principles Cleveland embodied. In fact, the political right, at times, has been in pure chaos, more interested in fighting each other over the direction of the party than in standing up to the Obama Progressives. Furthermore, with the suppression of true conservatism in the GOP, there currently is no major political party sincerely advocating Jeffersonian doctrine.
The purpose of this book is to re-examine a truly great, but largely unknown, president and to point out what we in the conservative movement, as well as the nation as a whole, can learn from him today. Many conservative and libertarian scholars criticize our former statesmen and presidents, as well as the policies they advocated. Such critiques are extremely important to our understanding of history, as they warn us what paths we should not take. While it’s essential to point out flawed leaders and disastrous policies, it’s also equally important to examine exemplary statesmen and demonstrate why they are worthy of consideration, admiration, and emulation.
This book attempts to do just that with detailed look at the phenomenal public career of Grover Cleveland. The principles advocated within its pages can strengthen the Republican Party into a great engine of resistance and move the nation out of the darkness of progressivism and into the light of liberty.