Hoover Institution Press released The New Deal and Modern American Conservatism: A Defining Rivalry, by Hoover research fellow David Davenport and Pepperdine professor of public policy Gordon Lloyd.
This thought-provoking book illustrates how the twenty-first-century discourse between progressives and conservatives grew out of the Roosevelt-Hoover debate of the 1930s. Providing an often-overlooked historical perspective, the authors show how the roots of today's debate between conservatives and liberals over the future of the country can be found in Herbert Hoover's battle against the New Deal in the 1930s. The authors examine the pivotal issues of the dispute, then and now, and recommend a future path for the US conservative movement.
“The debates between Franklin Roosevelt and Herbert Hoover in the 1930s sound very much like the campaign rhetoric of liberals and conservatives in 2012,” stated Lloyd. "As Hoover said of Roosevelt then, and many have said of Obama today, the progressive regime would move America toward the European model of statism- and socialism-lite.”
Davenport and Lloyd detail how Hoover, alarmed by the excesses of the New Deal, pointed to the ideas that would constitute modern US conservatism and how three pillars—liberty, limited government, and constitutionalism—formed his case against the New Deal and, in turn, became the underlying philosophy of conservatism today. Further, the authors show that US conservatism is not dead or dying, but that, rather than focusing on electoral strategies and politics, conservatives must make the case to a younger generation of voters that the future of representative government lies in renewing individual freedom, balanced budgets, self-reliance, and moral and traditional restraint by we the people and the representatives we elect.
“In the aftermath of the 2012 presidential election, Republicans are trying to explain what went wrong and what conservatives must do to be a viable part of the national conversation. The answer is ‘go back to come back’ because our history contains signposts for the way forward,” said Davenport.
Twenty-first-century Americans looking for a back-to-the-basics approach to reviving the conservative movement will find a treasure trove of ideas and arguments in the speeches and writings of our thirty-first president, Herbert Hoover, and our thirty-second president, Franklin Roosevelt.
David Davenport is counselor to the director and a research fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. He previously served as president of Pepperdine University, where he was also a professor of law and public policy.
Gordon Lloyd is a professor of public policy at the School of Public Policy at Pepperdine University. He also serves on the National Advisory Council for the Walter and Leonore Annenberg Presidential Learning Center through the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation.
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