Recarving Rushmore
Recarving Rushmore

Recarving Rushmore

Ranking the Presidents on Peace, Prosperity, and Liberty


526 Pages, 6 x 9

Formats: Paperback, ebook: PDF, ebook: EPUB, Mobipocket

Paperback, $19.95 (US $19.95) (CA $23.99)

Publication Date: October 2014

ISBN 9781598131291


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Evaluating presidents on the merits of whether their policies promoted peace, prosperity, and liberty, this ranking system takes a distinctly new approach. Historians and scholars have long tended to give higher rankings to presidents who served during wartime, were well spoken, or exceeded in expanding the power of the executive office. However, this new examination cuts through these longstanding biases and political rhetoric to offer a new nonpartisan system of ranking that is based purely on how well each president's policies adhered with the founders' original intention of limiting federal power in all its aspects. As a result, the book provides an alternative history of the United States as seen through the founders' likely vision of subsequent presidential actions. These presidential rankings will surprise most and enlighten even acknowledged experts on the presidency.


"In the intriguing book, Recarving Rushmore, Ivan Eland reassesses the record of all U.S. Presidents based on the constitutional principles that each swore to uphold. While conventional accounts glorify the flagrant misdeeds of the 'Imperial Presidency,' this insightful and crucial book provides an inspiring vision for both conservatives and liberals on the crucial need to rein in White House power and restore peace, prosperity and liberty." —Ron Paul, former U.S. Congressman and candidate for President of the United States. "Recarving Rushmore is colorful, entertaining, and profound. Ivan Eland shatters the grand illusion that great presidents are those who wage war or deprive people of their liberty, either here or abroad. The new 'gold standard' for measuring presidential performance, this book upends what we 'know' about 'Great' presidents and will challenge your view of political history, one president at a time." —Jonathan Bean, Professor of History, Southern Illinois University "Ivan Eland takes on what many may consider an almost impossible and certainly thankless job of arriving at some reasonable metric for fairly assessing presidential performance into some type of framework to classify presidents from George Washington to Barack Obama. . . . Certainly, not everyone will agree with the author's scoring system or how he placed presidents into their categories; however, the book has value in that it covers in synopsis format selected major high points and low points of each president's administration in office. There is also valuable information on each president such as term dates, party affiliation, born and died dates, the name of each president's spouse, the Alma Mater of each president, their occupation before occupying the office and each president's religion. This information is followed by selected details in how each president performed on the Constitutional values of Peace, Prosperity and Liberty which may not be complete or be the sole characteristic of each president's performance in the times during which he served. However, this information is strong enough to launch lively reflection and discussion among the thoughtful and reflective. In the final analysis, is it imperative or even important that U.S. presidents be evaluated on a selected metric of performance; and, would agreement ever be reached nationally on how that evaluation metric would be designed and applied?" —White House Studies "Eland engagingly shows why the conventional wisdom on the American presidency is all wrong and why presidents like Van Buren, Arthur, and Harding in fact ably advanced the nation's interest, while iconic names like Lincoln, the two Roosevelts, and Wilson caused serious harm. Recarving Rushmore is must reading." —Richard K. Vedder, Distinguished Professor of Economics and Faculty Associate, Contemporary History Institute, Ohio University "Judging presidents by a deceptively simple metric—their impact on peace, prosperity, and liberty—leads Ivan Eland in to reach radical conclusions about the rankings of presidents. Whether you agree that Coolidge was a good president and FDR a bad one, you'll never again glibly think to yourself that it's obvious which presidents are good and bad. It isn't—and Eland shows us why." —Richard Shenkman, Editor, History News Network; author, Presidential Ambition and Legends, Lies, and Cherished Myths of American History "Recarving Rushmore calls into question our whole conception of presidential greatness. In this well-written book, Eland offers readers insightful surveys of every president from Washington to Obama. Along the way, he makes a compelling case that many of the so-called 'greats' were not so great after all when it came to preserving liberty, peace, and prosperity. Readers will never see the presidency the same way again." —David T. Beito, Professor of History, University of Alabama "The majority view, that Lincoln was the best and Buchanan was the worst, results from shortco

Author Biography

Ivan Eland is a senior fellow and director of the Center on Peace & Liberty at the Independent Institute, a former director of defense policy studies at the Cato Institute, and a former principal defense analyst with the Congressional Budget Office. He is the author of The Empire Has No Clothes, No War for Oil, Partitioning for Peace, and Putting Defense Back Into U.S. Defense Policy. His work has been featured in numerous publications, including the Chicago Tribune, the Northwestern Journal of International Affairs, and the Washington Post, and on television programs such as ABC's World News, CNN's Crossfire, and various Fox News shows. He lives in Washington, DC.

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