The Political Principles of Robert A. Taft

The Political Principles of Robert A. Taft


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The Political Principles of Robert A. Taft by Russell Kirk, James McClellan

Robert A. Taft has been neglected by some historians and political theorists and vilified by others. Vigorously and impartially written, this book analyzes the ideas and influence of a great U.S. senator of the twentieth century. Here readers will find a close and lively examination of Taft's convictions on freedom, justice, labor policy, social reform, foreign affairs, and the responsibilities of political parties.

Respected for his intelligence and integrity, Robert Taft was considered the most remarkable public man of a turbulent political era. He was strong and candid, yet was repeatedly denied executive power. Despite this, he will undoubtedly be long remembered.

Drawing on many contemporary sources, including the Taft Papers in the Library of Congress, Kirk and McClellan set Taft in historical perspective. Taft's enduring significance to a normative theory of politics is made clear in this careful study, which includes extensive quotations from his outstanding speeches and writings. Available in paperback for the first time, this edition includes a new introduction by Jeffrey Nelson, who has been closely associated with Russell Kirk.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781412809917
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Publication date: 05/15/2010
Pages: 236
Sales rank: 773,290
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Russell Kirk (1918–1994) was the author of twenty-nine books in several fields. He was the founding editor of Transaction’s Library of Conservative Thought series.

James McClellan (1937-2005) was James Bryce Visiting Fellow in American Studies at the Institute of United States Studies of the University of London and before that Senior Resident Scholar at Liberty Fund Inc. Some of his works include Joseph Story and the American Constitution and The Federalist: A Student Edition.

Jeffrey O. Nelson is president of Thomas More College of Liberal Arts. Previously he served as senior vice president at the Intercollegiate Studies Institute. He edited two book collections— Redeeming the Time, by Russell Kirk, and Perfect Sowing: Reflections of a Bookman by Henry Regnery—and is co-founder of the Russell Kirk Center.

Table of Contents

Introduction to the Transaction Edition ix

Introduction Note xxi

I A Politician of Principle 1

Taft's Memory 1

Ohio Politics 7

The Face of the New Deal 11

From Cincinnati to Washington 16

II Foundations of Democracy 24

First Months in the Senate 24

Practical Alternatives 28

Debates with T. V. Smith 34

A Reputation for Probity 37

III The Struggle for Responsible Party 40

Statesmanship through Partisanship 40

A Party in the Wilderness 41

Taft's Understanding of Party 49

The Republican Dilemma 55

IV Liberty Under Law 62

The Shadow of the Total State 62

Liberty and Order 67

Civil Rights and Civil Responsibilities 72

Universal Military Training 77

The Moral Basis of Freedom 81

V The Restraint of Power 85

The Primacy of Justice 85

Taft against the Executive Force 90

The Contest with President Truman 96

Congress and Foreign Affairs 98

The United States and Nuremberg Justice 100

The Future of Justice and Freedom 105

VI Organized Labor and the Public Interest 109

Justice, Power, and American Labor 109

An Enemy of Labor? 112

The Freedom of Labor and the Railroad Strike 116

The Taft-Hartley Act 119

Successful Defense of the Taft-Hartley Act 125

An Enduring Work of Equity 128

VII An Economy Humane and Free 132

The Charitable Society and the Socialist State 132

Equality of Opportunity in Education 139

The Nation's Health and Socialized Medicine 142

Federal Aid in Housing 148

The Credo of an Humane Politician 153

VIII A Foreign Policy for Americans 158

An Isolationist? 158

Confronting War and Imperialism 165

The Struggle against Communist Arms and Ideology 174

Taft in Retrospect 185

IX Taft and Permanence 192

A Taft Chronology 197

Index 207

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