During Grover Cleveland’s eight years in the presidential chair, he confronted national problems nearly identical to those America faces today. There are numerous issues with striking similarities, but the three major ones stand out above all others are – the economy, paternalism, and foreign affairs.Continue reading
Politicians, pundits, and scholars have wrestled over a central question throughout American political and constitutional history: What role should the government have in the lives of ordinary citizens?
For Jeffersonian Conservatives, such as Grover Cleveland, the government has no business involving itself in areas outside its limited, constitutional role, and should never take a position as a “custodian;” the people should be free to pursue their own dreams without government interference, to rise as high and as far as their God-given talent, abilities, and determination will carry them. Success or failure depends on the individual.
Some liberals on the other side of the political spectrum believe the government should play a vital role in the lives of the people, from cradle to grave. They believe the lowly masses cannot take care of themselves. For Democrats, government must step in and take up the role of caretaker. As Nancy Pelosi said in 2011: “I view my work in politics as an extension of my role as a mom.”[i] This progressive viewpoint is known as government paternalism, and has been defined as “a policy or practice of treating or governing people in a fatherly manner, especially by providing for their needs without giving them rights or responsibilities.”[ii] Continue reading
America is at a crossroads. The 2012 election, as well as those in the very near future, could very well determine what kind of nation we will leave for posterity. Yet, while on our current political trajectory, America is in danger of losing the constitutional republic created by the Founding Fathers, and once lost, it might be gone forever.
My new book, The Last Jeffersonian: Grover Cleveland and the Path to Restoring the Republic, examines the true nature of conservative thought, the present direction of the nation, and the changes we must make in order to preserve our great political heritage. Exhibit A in achieving these three goals is a study of the public career of Grover Cleveland, who served as the 22nd and 24th President of the United States, from 1885-1889 and from 1893-1897.
As a great public servant – mayor, governor, and president – Cleveland confronted many of the same troubles we face in our time – the public character and behavior of our candidates, the role of government in the everyday lives of the people, the burden of taxation, the distribution of wealth, government involvement in an economic depression, spending, constitutional interpretation, and complex foreign affairs. Continue reading