We write on behalf of the board and staff of the Claremont Institute for the Study of Statesmanship and Political Philosophy to announce the miserable news that Thomas B. Silver, president of the Claremont Institute, has passed away. He was 54.
Tom died the day after Christmas from an aggressive brain tumor, which had been discovered only a few days earlier. Tom had no recognizable symptoms of severe illness as recently as a month ago.
Tom leaves behind him Nancy, his wife of 25 years, and two sons, Arthur and Tony. They have lost a constant and loving husband and father. America has lost a patriot-scholar.
Tom always spoke well but rarely spoke about himself. But in his first book, Coolidge and the Historians, it is easy to see Tom's character. It is also easy to see why in 1983 President Reagan counted the book among his favorites. In its pages, Tom defends Calvin Coolidge against ungenerous, untrue attacks unleashed by big-name historians in the decades following Coolidge's presidency, when Progressives overtook American politics.
In that book, Tom rights a wrong and teaches his readers what a great American statesman says and does. Tom worked in the tradition of his teacher Harry Jaffa, who has been teaching students and citizens about Lincoln and America's Founders for more than 40 years. We come to find that Jaffa and Tom followed in the spirit of Coolidge, who said: "A wholesome regard for the memory of the great men of long ago is the best assurance to a people of a continuation of great men to come, who shall be able to instruct, to lead, and to inspire. A people who worship at the shrine of true greatness will themselves be truly great."
Coolidge also said we Americans have been characterized by a resolve "to show by our actions our adherence to those seasoned and established principles which have made our country the greatest among the nations of the earth." Tom wrote a new book recently; it's still in manuscript form. It details the introduction of historicist, Progressive thinking into American politics and our national life. That thinking promotes the administrative state in domestic policy and one-world government in foreign policy. Tom makes the case that such thinking threatens our constitutional government by denying America's seasoned principles and ruining our resolve.
From his days serving in Vietnam and serving as chief of staff to Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich, to his days serving as co-founder, board member, and then president of the Claremont Institute, Tom Silver has been of good character, of American character, showing by his actions his adherence to the principles that made America great.
Tom loved the Claremont Institute. Beyond measure, we will miss him. For more than 20 years the Institute has fought and taught for America. That will not stop.
For many years we at the Claremont Institute have stood shoulder to shoulder. We have lost one of the first and most important of our number. Way back, we made a resolution with Tom Silver to support the principles for which we stand, come what may. We will continue to do so. We have before us the example of Tom Silver. That example will help us carry the burden he has laid down.