Joseph B. Eastman: Servant of the People

By Claude Moore Fuess | Go to book overview

XI
Federal Coordinator of
Transportation

IN 1930 Eastman became chairman of the commission's Legislative Committee, and at once, without seeking publicity, he found himself one of the key figures in the unpredictable realm of politics, facing squarely some of the complicated problems tormenting the Hoover Administration. From time to time he had diagnosed the maladies which afflicted the railroads, and he was now called upon to prescribe the remedies. No act affecting transportation was considered without seeking his advice, and he was present as witness or adviser at every Congressional hearing on the subject. He came to know important Senators and Congressmen on Capitol Hill; he walked, undeceived and incorruptible, in the midst of intrigues, jealousies, and chicanery, wondering at what he saw and heard; he was consulted because of his knowledge and approached because of his supposed power. Naturally, his experience made him wiser, and he wrote in 1931: "There aren't many of the tricks that I don't know!" His passion and aptitude for research, his independent views and convincing manner of expounding them, pleased Congressional leaders weary of bombast and ulterior motives. This quiet, unobtrusive gentleman, uncorroded by personal ambition, had made himself master of a field described in 1933 by Harold G. Moulton as "the most important single element in our social and economic life."

The Legislative Committee, created by the commission in 1916, was furthermore charged with preparing all the numerous written reports requested from time to time by the Congress. Eastman had never been precisely an idler, but now, as chairman of this im-

-180-

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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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