The United States began its existence as an independent nation during a pitched battle over what direction the federal government should take and which party – the Hamiltonian Federalist or the Jeffersonian Republican – would rightly carry the banner of the American Revolution. This first ideological fight took place in President Washington’s Cabinet, which found itself torn between Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton and Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson. The philosophical clash that began in 1789 continues today.
Hamilton’s arguments prevailed during both the Washington and Adams administrations, but Jefferson struck back with a great victory in 1800 and stopped the Federalist onslaught. The nation was governed, for the most part, by Jeffersonian principles for the next sixty years, and, despite some historians’ beliefs to the contrary, Hamilton’s entire big government program was eventually repealed.
However with Lincoln’s election in 1860 – Old Abe being from the school of Hamiltonian thought – and the secession of the Jeffersonian South, the Republican Party re-instituted all of Hamilton’s ideas – a strong central government, a national banking system, fiat currency, high tariffs and internal taxes, direct aid to corporations, loose construction of the Constitution, and suppression of civil liberties, with little opposition. Continue reading
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. Continue reading