As one of Roosevelt's "brain trusters" and a leading spokesman for the policies of the New Deal in the 1930s, Rexford Tugwell was a major force in government in one of the most critical periods in American history. In this colorful memoir, Tugwell begins with his entry as a freshman into the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in the fall of 1911 and concludes with his acceptance in 1933 of the post of Assistant Secretary of Agriculture in the Roosevelt Administration. Along the way, the reader is treated to a wealth of reactions and asides about a number of significant people, among them Scott Nearing, Simon Nelson Patten, Joseph Wharton, Ezra Pound, Thorstein Veblen, Allen Tate, and his colleagues on the New Republic of the 1920s. Through his often wryly ironic anecdotes, Tugwell reveals how the unique combination of people and events he encountered in the academic world directly influenced his later controversial social and economic reform policies. These years shaped a man who would leave an indelible mark on American life.
To the Lesser Heights of Morningside illuminates not only the period of Rexford Tugwell's intellectual and political growth but the development of social reform and economic recovery ideas at two prominent universities during the twenties and thirties. Tugwell provides us with an intriguing and privileged glance into the intellectual climate and the complex of ideas that gave rise to the New Deal Era.
As Assistant Secretary of Agriculture, and then Undersecretary, Tugwell took a bold stance on the government's role in the regulation of industry and establishment of social welfare programs. From 1935-36 he headed the Rural Resettlement Administration and aided in the formation of the Civilian Conservation Corps. Tugwell was the originator of currency legislation and of the processing tax. In 1941 he became governor of Puerto Rico, where he did much to improve economic and political conditions. Among his written works is he definitive biography of FDR, The Democratic Roosevelt. Tugwell returned to teaching after his governorship and held both active and honorary posts until his death in 1979.
Leon H. Keyserling was chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Harry Truman and was President and Director of the Conference on Economic Progress in Washington D.C. Otis L. Graham, Jr. was Distinguished University Professor of History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
"A fascinating memoir of engaging and beautiful reminiscences.""—Philadelphia Inquirer
"A graceful memoir. . . . The journal of a mind troubled by the inequities and inefficiencies of America's economic arrangements and in search of greater order and fairness."—New York Times