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The High Tide of American Conservatism: Davis, Coolidge, and the 1924 Election Hardcover – September 1, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Emerald Book Company; First edition (September 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1934572500
  • ISBN-13: 978-1934572504
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #996,197 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

''That historians have largely failed to understand the significance of that election points to what Tucker has accomplished as a non-historian. His revisionist account not only upgrades the election in historical terms, but it also casts a fresh light on Coolidge and Davis. The contest between Coolidge and Davis was unique. It was the last time Republicans and Democrats chose conservatives as presidential candidates to run against each other. Tucker is justified, I think, in calling the election 'the high tide of American conservatism.'''
--Fred Barnes, Executive Editor of The Weekly Standard and political contributor for FOX News Channel

''...As Garland S. Tucker III makes clear in this fascinating study...[this] election was the last time the presidential nominees of the two parties could both be described as conservatives...but since the Democratic party after 1924 was unreservedly the part of the left in the United States, this election may fairly be described, as Mr. Tucker does, as the 'high tide of American conservatism.'''
--Philip Terzian, The Weekly Standard

''As a pollster, who has for many years studied the shifting tides in political thought in the nation, I found Garland Tucker's book to be enormously helpful in shedding new light on the 1924 Davis/Coolidge presidential race and to its underlying meaning and significance.''
--George Gallup, historian and author

''Well-told tale of one of the most extraordinary and long forgotten Presidential elections in American history. The major party nominees in the 1924 contest were both genuine conservatives. Their conservatism was not skin-deep but rather well thought out and articulated with compelling eloquence. But after 1924 the Democrats irrevocably became the party of the Left while Republicans eventually became the party of conservatism. Those dismayed by American politics today will find solace and perhaps inspiration in reading of this election. Author Tucker has written a fascinating account of a contest we won't likely see replicated again.''
--Steve Forbes, Chairman & CEO of Forbes Media

''With The High Tide of American Conservatism, Garland Tucker has made a splendid contribution to this recovery work. Here is a well-researched, well-structured narrative of classic conservative principles in action at the highest levels of politics. Along the way we get thoughtful pen-portraits of two great American gentlemen, men of the highest honor and integrity, both of whom believed, in the words of Coolidge, that 'unless there abides in [the people] the spirit of industry and thrift, of sacrifice and self-denial, of courage and enterprise, and a belief in the reality of truth and justice, all the efforts of the Government will be in vain.''' --
John Derbyshire, National Review

''Many conservatives believe the summit of their beliefs began and ended with the sainted Reagan. Not true. As Garland S. Tucker III shows in The High Tide of American Conservatism,' in 1924 both presidential candidates, Calvin Coolidge and John Davis, campaigned for limited government, reduced taxes and low tariffs. The Republican Coolidge won in a landslide, in part because the Democrats were in the process of disowning a relatively conservative tradition dating back 40 years in favor of the new progressive politics of Franklin Roosevelt. Coolidge, arguably our least-known good president, served two terms that coincided with strong economic growth enabled in part by steep, across-the-board tax cuts. In the decades that followed, liberal historians tried, with success, to discredit and bury the economic conservatism of the 1920s. The concerns of this important period largely disappeared from the political conversation. But now they're back, thanks to the tea-party movement. Anyone seeking clarity about what's at stake in the run-up to 2012 needs to know what happened to our politics in 1924. It wasn't complicated, it was very exciting and it worked. And Garland S. Tucker III's book is a perfect guide.'' --
Daniel Henninger, Wall Street Journal

Well-told tale of one of the most extraordinary and long forgotten Presidential elections in American history. The major party nominees in the 1924 contest were both genuine conservatives. Their conservatism was not skin-deep but rather well thought out and articulated with compelling eloquence. But after 1924 the Democrats irrevocably became the party of the Left while Republicans eventually became the party of conservatism. Those dismayed by American politics today will find solace and perhaps inspiration in reading of this election. Author Tucker has written a fascinating account of a contest we won t likely see replicated again. --Steve Forbes, Chairman & CEO of Forbes Media

About the Author

Garland S. Tucker, III, is president/CEO of Triangle Capital Corporation, a publicly traded specialty finance company located in Raleigh, North Carolina. He graduated magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, from Washington and Lee University and received an MBA degree from Harvard Business School. He is a former member of the New York Stock Exchange; serves on the boards of a number of companies, schools, and charitable organizations; and is a lifelong student of history.

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Customer Reviews

Next, the author gives a detailed and fascinating short history of each candidate and the campaign.
Dr. Watson
This is very well written account of a period, if not neglected, not as often written about compared to other periods in American history - the 1920s.
A Reader
Easy to read and thoroughly enjoyable, I would recommend this book without any hesitation to anyone interested in the future of America.
Bookbill

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Reader on November 9, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This is very well written account of a period, if not neglected, not as often written about compared to other periods in American history - the 1920s. It would be fair to say that this is an admiring dual biography of Calvin Coolidge and John W. Davis, centered around their contest in the 1924 Presidential election. The author, justifiably, has great admiration for both men, whose hallmark was great integrity and an unwavering belief in the restrained role assigned to government by the Constitution and individual liberty. Those unfamiliar with these men will find much to discover - the calculated and amusing aspects of Coolidge's taciturnity and Davis' stature as a giant of the American legal profession - no one argued more cases before the Supreme Court. The title of the book reflects the reality that this was the last time both political parties nominated a conservative candidate, and from that point forward, the respective parties inexorably morphed into one clearly conservative and one clearly liberal. The Democrat Davis is the proxy for this - his opposition to much of the New Deal and, toward the end of his life, endorsement of the Republican, Eisenhower.

This is not academic history - the author is a successful businessman and apparently, quite an accomplished amateur historian. While well footnoted, most are of secondary sources (which is fine for the general reader). There is especially considerable reliance on the work of the conservative British historian, Paul Johnson. There are a few instances where some explanation might help the general reader.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Bookbill on October 26, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Tucker's book has given me a new American hero----President Cal Coolidge. It also introduced me to another great essentially unknown patriot---John Davis. The 1924 Election is the crux of the book, but what most impressed me most was how the author covered the political picture before and after this election. Not a book of political opinion, but one of reporting our country's look at the role of govenment and how our political parties became what they are today. Easy to read and thoroughly enjoyable, I would recommend this book without any hesitation to anyone interested in the future of America.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Watson on March 26, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Garland Tucker has brought new insight and information on the 1924 Election. Tucker has given us a book that not only informs, but also entertains the reader with interesting details of the candidates and their financial-political backers. Readers will learn new in an interesting and informative way, how both Democrats and Republicans chose conservative candidates, a watershed event, for the 1924 Election. Calvin Coolidge and John Davis were both conservatives, and the author tells their stories with an expertise that is frequently missing in most histories of the period.

The author has expertly pulled back the curtain revealing a decades-old slanted view of the twenties as dull, bourgeois, and ruthless, as purported by two generations of American historians. The author has rightly corrected that prevalent popular view of this era, as one in need of historical balance. He quotes Paul Rubin: "We now know that FDR's policies likely prolonged the Great Depression because the economy never fully recovered in the 1930s, and actually got worse in the latter half of the decade." And then, quotes Paul Johnson: "Coolidge Prosperity was huge, real, widespread and it showed that the concept of a property-owning democracy could be realized."

The book is well organized, even for one who is not familiar with the details of the twenties. The author sets the stage with an excellent overview of the 1920-1924 period, when the country moved from years of progressivism under Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, toward conservatism and fiscal responsibility, beginning with the Harding-Coolidge administration.
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15 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Charlotte Liebig on August 20, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The Roaring 20s were America's Arcadia. Babe Ruth, the rollicking Jazz Age, flappers, speakeasies, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and the explosion of middle class prosperity.
Considering today's endemic morass of federal overreach, The High Tide of American Conservatism: Davis, Coolidge and the 1924 Election by Garland S. Tucker III is a liberty bell ringing in the distance. Tucker revives Jeffersonian ideals of maximum individual freedom and minimal government interference. The parallels between Calvin Coolidge, the incumbent Republican candidate, and John Davis, the Democratic candidate, are astonishing.
Both grew up in rural America. Coolidge was born in 1872 and grew up in Notch, Vermont. Davis was born in 1873 in Clarksburg, West Virginia. Both grew up on farms. Both had strict parents stressing the importance of education. Both attended small renowned liberal arts schools: Coolidge, Amherst; Davis, W&L. Both became successful lawyers; Davis tried 140 cases before the US Supreme Court, a record at that time. Both possessed unimpeachable integrity. Both became gentlemen's gentlemen; both became lawyer's lawyers. Both were Jeffersonian conservatives: like our Founding Fathers, less was more when it came to government.
Why does this new title seem such a clarion call in our day? Is it because of the impeccable timing with progressive overreach? Is it because both John Davis and Calvin Coolidge are in a short historic line of statesmen contrasted to a long gray line of American politicians? Or, is it because of the acclaimed humility of both these true gentlemen contrasted with our present era of the newly entitled corporate chieftains and politicians in America? All mankind adores humble hounds and despises haughty roaring lions.
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