Alton B. Parker

The Man Who Challenged Roosevelt

By Bradley C. Nahrstadt

Subjects: New York/regional, Biography, Politics, Law, American History
Hardcover : 9781438495972, 357 pages, January 2024
Paperback : 9781438495989, 357 pages, July 2024
Expected to ship: 2024-07-02

Alternative formats available from:

Table of contents

List of Illustrations

1. His Early Years

2. His Time on the Bench

3. Parker’s Patron: David Bennett Hill

4. Turn-of-the-Century Politics

5. The Possible Democratic Candidates in 1904

6. The 1904 Conventions

7. The Nomination

8. Parker’s Running Mate: Henry Gassaway Davis

9. The Campaign Begins

10. The Middle Campaign

11. The End Is in Sight

12. Election Day

13. A Return to the Practice of Law and a Continuing Involvement in Politics

14. His Final Days

15. What Kind of President Would Parker Have Made?


Provides a fascinating and in-depth look into the life, career and legacy of one of the most important New Yorkers of the Gilded Age.


This first full-length biography of Alton Brooks Parker provides an in-depth look into the life, career, and legacy of one of the most important New Yorkers of the Gilded Age. Parker had the courage to challenge Theodore Roosevelt for the presidency in 1904—at the height of Roosevelt’s popularity—and was a transition point between the conservative and the new, progressive wing of the Democratic Party. Based on new archival research, this book contributes to our understanding of how political campaigns were conducted during the Gilded Age/Progressive Era, in comparison to modern campaigns. It also provides insights into the changing Democratic Party as it transformed from the presidency of Grover Cleveland to the presidencies of Woodrow Wilson and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Bradley C. Nahrstadt, a former attorney, is the author or coauthor of over ninety journal articles and more than forty book chapters on legal issues.


"An excellent, long-overdue study of one of the most prominent judicial statesmen of his era, Chief Judge of the New York State Court of Appeals, Democratic presidential nominee in 1904, and senior judicial and political leader." — Bruce Dearstyne, author of The Spirit of New York and The Crucible of Public Policy

"Contributes to our understanding of …[the] factions within the Democratic Party … [This] biography fills a scholarly niche that should make it useful to later research efforts.” — Andre P. Audette, Monmouth College

"The first biography of a major party presidential candidate, who has largely been lost to the annals of history… [which] adds to American political, legal, and economic history.” — Tobias T. Gibson, Westminster College (Missouri)