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by Elton B. Klibanoff

386 pages
The book describes how Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Monroe, Lincoln, Wilson, and Franklin Roosevelt were critical builders of American liberty and essential to its survival.

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Category: History:United States
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About the Book
Elton Klibanoff's For the Survival of Liberty: Great Presidential Decisions tells the story of how six Presidents--Washington, Jefferson, Monroe, Lincoln, Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt--were indispensible to the development of American liberty. The book describes how their life experience, character, and vision resulted in six great decisions and established values and precedents that have been vital to the continued strength and world leadership of the United States.

The author shows that the historical basis of American liberty features a strong federal government, dedicated to the general welfare, and an internationalist foreign policy in which the United States led as much by example as by unilateral military action.

Intended for the general reader, the book is an extensively researched narrative of dramatic decisions and a keen analysis of the motivations of great leaders. It shows how Presidents sometimes have to deviate from previously held positions when necessary for the good of the country, and how important it is for leaders to understand the country's history and have clear goals for the future.

The story brings to prominence presidential advisors who made essential contributions to great Presidential decisions, particularly Alexander Hamilton, John Quincy Adams, Frances Perkins, and Harry Hopkins.

The reader will learn what might have happened to the country had these Presidents not taken the actions they did, as well as how these decisions affected future events and future Presidents.

The book focuses on the following actions that have been instrumental in shaping American liberty:
  • creation of the framework of a national economy as established by George Washington;
  • geographic expansion of the country as set in motion by Thomas Jefferson;
  • adoption as the mission of America to nurture and protect liberty in our hemisphere as articulated by James Monroe;
  • establishing equal opportunity for all as indispensable to American liberty, made part of national policy by Abraham Lincoln;
  • application of America's mission of liberty to the world as institutionalized by Woodrow Wilson; and
  • making it the responsibility of the federal government to ensure economic and social security for all as enshrined by Franklin Roosevelt.
Mr. Klibanoff answers the following questions about each decision and the President who made it:
  • how did the President's life experience and character factor into the decision?
  • who were the major actors in each decision and what was their role?
  • how did the decision fit into the political climate of the time and the political philosophy of the President?
  • what effects did the decision have on the future development of American liberty and on American history?
  • what lessons does the decision have for America in the 21st century?
The book appears at a time when the national political environment has been polarized to such an extent that some of America's most important political principles, such as the separation of powers, the right to privacy, freedom of thought, the separation of church and state, and a commitment to international cooperation are at the center of debate. The Presidents and the decisions that are the subject of the book can provide important guideposts for the resolution of current and future political issues.


"By focusing on the lives and accomplishments of six United States Presidents, historian Klibanoff lays out a richly detailed blueprint for American liberty...Klibanoff goes beyond textbooks, synthesizing volumes of material into a cohesive and engaging 300 pages, while not overlooking interesting details..."
- Publisher's Weekly
"...a coherent narrative about how presidential decisions of the past continue to affect Americans today...the path we have travelled is fascinating every step of the hopes that books like this one can remedy deficiencies in America's teaching of its own history...Klibanoff's accessible prose is straightforward and frank..."
- ForeWord Clarion Reviews
"...the author's inclusion of quotes from each president's a welcome addition and also lends his arguments added depth...Never overtly political in his writing, Klibanoff is, however, quite obviously a patriot..."
- Kirkus Reviews



About the Author
Elton B. Klibanoff Elton Klibanoff earned Distinction in History from Brown University and studied law at Harvard Law School. He has taught at the graduate school level and has held leadership positions in government and private industry.



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