Just this week, I released a new book on Grover Cleveland, published by the Abbeville Institute Press.
My original book on Cleveland, The Last Jeffersonian: Grover Cleveland and the Path to Restoring the Republic, compared Grover Cleveland and his Jeffersonian policies with modern political problems because I found them to be very similar in many respects. It was simply a way to show the relevancy of history and how historical lessons can be applied to the modern world. It was not a full biography of Grover Cleveland and was never intended to be.
After five years of publication, and more study of the Jeffersonian Ideal, I was graciously invited by Dr. Don Livingston to speak at The Abbeville Institute’s Summer School in July 2017 in Charleston, South Carolina. It was there, sitting in the audience as I reflected on my lecture, which was on the Jeffersonian tradition in America, and as I basked in the wisdom of other speakers, like Professor Livingston, Dr. Clyde Wilson, Dr. Brion McClanahan, and many others, I decided to re-issue the book with a new tilt to it, showcasing more fully Cleveland’s attachment to Mr. Jefferson and the Jeffersonian Ideal, which was crafted and upheld mainly by Southerners, as well as an additional chapter on Cleveland’s attitude and policies directed toward the South, which had been so instrumental in defending and preserving those political traditions.
So, with those thoughts and ideas running through my head, I pitched my proposal to Professor Livingston, and he suggested the up-and-coming Abbeville Press, which was at that very moment looking for scholarly books. And, to my amazement, the project was off and running far quicker than I ever imagined.
I spent some time re-working the manuscript to get it ready for publication, all while I was finishing the final editing for another book, Remember Mississippi. If you read the first version of The Last Jeffersonian, you will find here some significant changes. I removed all references to contemporary politics, the many comparisons I used to showcase similarities between our world and the late nineteenth century and how Cleveland’s policies could be applied to the modern age. I re-wrote the Introduction and the Afterword, added a new Preface chapter, removed the old Prologue and added the bulk of it to the body of the book, trimmed down a lengthy biographical chapter, and added a brand-new chapter entitled “Grover Cleveland and the South.” Within the main body chapters, I added new quotes as headers, polished the prose, and added some new information and a few new sub-chapters. Although it grew out of my original book, it is, as you will find, a new book all to itself.
I believe these changes made the book much better. Arranged topically, rather than chronologically, it focuses on the Jeffersonian principles that became the heart and soul of conservatism, and on Cleveland’s complete dedication to them. Simply put, Grover Cleveland was the Thomas Jefferson of the late nineteenth century, and he governed like Southerners did throughout the earlier period of Jeffersonian America.