Joseph B. Eastman: Servant of the People

By Claude Moore Fuess | Go to book overview

VIII
The Prosperity Era

THROUGHOUT the Harding administration, when the capital was packed with professional lobbyists and "fixers," Eastman was dissatisfied with what was going on and kept aloof from political intrigues. I cannot find that he was invited to the White House, and he knew none of the members of the Ohio Gang, Harry S. Daugherty and Jess Smith and their satellites, who used their previous acquaintance with the good-natured President for their own sinister purposes. They wouldn't have liked him or have understood him. At heart a philosophic liberal of the Woodrow Wilson type, he was unimpressed by party tradition and rather distrustful of conservatives. Orthodoxy was to him no virtue unless it had a logical justification. The threads of his experience had woven themselves into an altruistic pattern by which he measured all novel problems. His choices at election time were consistent, for he was adhering to his own deep-seated principles, which were more stable than Republican or Democratic platforms, composed to attract votes. Some of his letters of this period indicate clearly where his sympathies lay. When he was allowed to read certain statements by vindictive industrialists, he wrote on April 14, 1923, to Wilbur LaRoe:

I thank you for letting me see the file of letters, chiefly the "hardboiled" type. . . . The letters which you have received would convey the impression that all the authors of these letters were earnest workers for the unadulterated truth. As a matter of fact, most of them have minds which, quite unconsciously, are full of preconceived notions and are not open to the truth. Overstatements or misleading statements by a radical they can perceive at once, but overstatements or misleading statements by a conservative they cannot perceive at all. As you know, more deliberate lies were told in regard to what happened during federal control than there have been upon almost any subject that I

-126-

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Joseph B. Eastman: Servant of the People
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Foreword v
  • Contents ix
  • Illustrations xi
  • Introduction xiii
  • I - Yankee Background 3
  • II - Growing Up 8
  • III - An Amherst Education 19
  • IV - Apprenticeship in Public Service 37
  • V - Transition to Power 61
  • VI - From State to Nation 80
  • VII - The Independent Commissioner 96
  • VIII - The Prosperity Era 126
  • IX - Valuation Is Vexation 153
  • X - Problems and Policies 166
  • XI - Federal Coordinator of Transportation 180
  • XII - The Coordinator's Task and Achievements 211
  • XIII - Eastman and the New Deal 245
  • XIV - The Last Big Job 270
  • XV - The End of the Road 297
  • XVI - The Measure of a Man 312
  • Index 345
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