Thomas Woodrow Wilson (28 December 1856 – 3 February 1924) was the 28th President of the United States of America (1913–1921) and the 45th state Governor of New Jersey (1911–1913). He was the second Democrat to serve two consecutive terms in the White House, after Andrew Jackson.
== Quotes ==
=== 1880s ===
I yield to no one precedence in love for the South. But because I love the South, I rejoice in the failure of the Confederacy.
Essay on John Bright, Virginia University Magazine, 19:354-370 (March 1880)Congress in session is Congress on public exhibition, whilst Congress in its committee-rooms is Congress at work.
Congressional Government, A Study in American Politics (1885; republished 1981), chapter 2, p. 69 (1981)The Senate of the United States has been both extravagantly praised and unreasonably disparaged, according to the predisposition and temper of its various critics... The truth is, in this case as in so many others, something quite commonplace and practical. The Senate is just what the mode of its election and the conditions of public life in this country make it.
Congressional Government, A Study in American Politics (1885; republished 1981), chapter 4, p. 135 (1981)
In fundamental theory socialism and democracy are almost if not quite one and the same. They both rest at bottom upon the absolute right of the community to determine its own destiny and that of its members. Men as communities are supreme over men as individuals.
“Socialism and Democracy,” essay published in The Papers of Woodrow Wilson, Arthur S. Link, ed., Vol. 5, Princeton University Press, 1968, pp. 559-62, (first published, August 22, 1887)We grow great by dreams. All big men are dreamers. They see things in the soft haze of a spring day or in the red fire of a long winter's evening. Some of us let these great dreams die, but others nourish and protect them; nurse them through bad days till they bring them to the sunshine and light which comes always to those who sincerely hope that their dreams will come true.
As quoted by Thomas A. Bruno in Take your dreams and Run (South Plainfield: Bridge, 1984), p. 2-3. Source: Dr. Preston Williams (2002): By the Way - A Snapshot Diagnosis of the Inner-City Dilemma, p. 38-39. Xulun Press, Fairfax, Virginia
==== "The Study of Administration," 1887 ====
Woodrow Wilson, "The Study of Administration," Political Science Quarterly, Vol. 2, No. 2 (June, 1887), pp. 197-222.
It is getting to be harder to run a constitution than to frame one.Administration is the most obvious part of government; it is government in action; it is the executive, the operative, the most visible side of government, and is of course as old as government itself.Like a lusty child, government with us has expanded in nature and grown great in stature, but has also become awkward in movement... English and American political history has been a history, not of administrative development, but of legislative oversight-not of progress in governmental organization, but of advance in law-making and political criticism... We go on criticising when we ought to be creating.
p. 203; as cited in: Dimock (1937;28)The principles on which to base a science of administration for America, must be principles which have democratic policy very much at heart.
=== 1890s ===
The ear of the leader must ring with the voices of the people.
“The Leaders of Men”, speech at the University of Tennessee (17 June 1890), in The Politics of Woodrow Wilson, p. 74Uncompromising thought is the luxury of the closeted recluse.
“The Leaders of Men”, (17 June 1890), p. 75It has never been natural, it has seldom been possible, in this country for learning to seek a place apart and hold aloof from affairs. It is only when society is old, long settled to its ways, confident in habit, and without self-questioning upon any vital point of conduct, that study can affect seclusion and despise the passing interests of the day.
“Princeton for the Nation's Service” (21 October 1896)Negro rule under unscrupulous adventurers had been finally put an end to in the South, and the natural, inevitable ascendancy of the whites, the responsible class, established.
Division and Reunion, 1829-1889 Longmans, Green, & Company (1893) p. 273The object of education is not merely to draw out the powers of the individual mind: it is rather its right object to draw all minds to a proper adjustment to the physical and social world in which they are to have their life and their development: to enlighten, strengthen and make fit.
"Princeton In The Nation's Service" (21 October 1896)Nothing is easier than to falsify the past. Lifeless instruction will do it. If you rob it of vitality, stiffen it with pedantry, sophisticate it with argument, chill it with unsympathetic comment, you render it as dead as any academic exercise. The safest way in all ordinary seasons is to let it speak for itself: resort to its records, listen to its poets and to its masters in the humbler art of prose. Your real and proper object, after all, is not to expound, but to realize it, consort with it, and make your spirit kin with it, so that you may never shake the sense of obligation off. In short, I believe that the catholic study of the world's literature as a record of spirit is the right preparation for leadership in the world's affairs, if you undertake it like a man and not like a pedant.
"Princeton In The Nation's Service" (21 October 1896)
=== 1900s ===
However it has come about, it is more important still that the control of credit also has become dangerously centralized. It is the mere truth to say that the financial resources of the country are not at the command of those who do not submit to the direction and domination of small groups of capitalists who wish to keep the economic development of the country under their own eye and guidance. The great monopoly in this country is the monopoly of big credits. So long as that exists, our old variety and freedom and individual energy of development are out of the question. A great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is privately concentrated. The growth of the nation, therefore, and all our activities are in the hands of a few men who, even if their action be honest and intended for the public interest, are necessarily concentrated upon the great undertakings in which their own money is involved and who necessarily, by very reason of their own limitations, chill and check and destroy genuine economic freedom. This is the greatest question of all, and to this statesmen must address themselves with an earnest determination to serve the long future and the true liberties of men. This money trust, or, as it should be more properly called, this credit trust, of which Congress has begun an investigation, is no myth; it is no imaginary thing. It is not an ordinary trust like another. It doesn’t do business every day. It does business only when there is occasion to do business. You can sometimes do something large when it isn’t watching, but when it is watching, you can’t do much. And I have seen men squeezed by it; I have seen men who, as they themselves expressed it, were put “out of business by Wall Street,” because Wall Street found them inconvenient and didn’t want their competition.
The New Freedom - A call for the emancipation of the generous energies of a people (1913), Chapter VIII, Monopoly or Opportunity?New York and Gardn City: Doubleday, Page and Company (
Adventurers swarmed out of the North, as much the enemies of one race as of the other, to cozen, beguile and use the negroes. The white men were aroused by a mere instinct of self-preservation — until at last there sprung into existence a great Kuklux Klan, a veritable empire of the South, to protect the Southern country.
A History of the American People (1902), describing the Klan as a brotherhood of politically disenfranchised white men; famously quoted in The Birth of a Nation (1915)The white men of the South were aroused by the mere instinct of self-preservation to rid themselves, by fair means or foul, of the intolerable burden of governments sustained by the votes of ignorant negroes.
A History of the American People (1902), Documentary Edition, Vol. IX, p. 58No doubt a lot of nonsense has been talked about the inalienable rights of the individual, and a great deal that was mere vague sentiment and pleasing speculation has been put forward as fundamental principle.
Constitutional Government in the United States, New York: NY, Columbia University Press, (1908) p. 16.We are not put into this world to sit still and know; we are put into it to act. It is true that in order to learn men must for a little while withdraw from action, must seek some quiet place of remove from the bustle of affairs, where their thoughts may run clear and tranquil, and the heats of business be for the time put off; but that cloistered refuge is no place to dream in.
“Princeton for the Nation's Service”, Inaugural address as President of Princeton (25 October 1902); this speech is different from his 1896 speech of the same title.There are two beings who assess character instantly by looking into the eyes,—dogs and children. If a dog not naturally possessed of the devil will not come to you after he has looked you in the face, you ought to go home and examine your conscience; and if a little child, from any other reason than mere timidity, looks you in the face, and then draws back and will not come to your knee, go home and look deeper yet into your conscience.
“Young People and the Church“ (13 October 1904)
Variant: If a dog will not come to you after he has looked you in the face, you ought to go home and examine your conscience.[W]e are not bound to adhere to the doctrine held by the signers of the Declaration of Independence.
Woodrow Wilson, “The Author and Signers of the Declaration,” (July 1907), The Papers of Woodrow Wilson (PWW), 17:251The only reason I read a book is because I cannot see and converse with the man who wrote it.
Speech in Kansas City (12 May 1905), PWW (The Papers of Woodrow Wilson) 16:99
Unsourced variant: I would never read a book if it were possible for me to talk half an hour with the man who wrote it.Generally young men are regarded as radicals. This is a popular misconception. The most conservative persons I ever met are college undergraduates. The radicals are the men past middle life.
Speech in New York City, (19 Nov 1905), The Papers of Woodrow Wilson 16:228The only thing that has ever distinguished America among the nations is that she has shown that all men are entitled to the benefits of the law.
Address in New York, 14 December 1906Since trade ignores national boundaries and the manufacturer insists on having the world as a market, the flag of his nation must follow him, and the doors of the nations which are closed must be battered down. Concessions obtained by financiers must be safeguarded by ministers of state, even if the sovereignty of unwilling nations be outraged in the process. Colonies must be obtained or planted, in order that no useful corner of the world may be overlooked or left unused.
An unpublished paper of 1907, as quoted in The Rising American Empire (1960) by Richard Warner Van Alstyne, p. 201; also quoted in On Power and Ideology (1987) by Noam Chomsky; accounts of this as being from a lecture of 15 April 1907 seem to be incorrect.We want one class of persons to have a liberal education, and we want another class of persons, a very much larger class, of necessity, in every society, to forego the privileges of a liberal education and fit themselves to perform specific difficult manual tasks.
“The Meaning of a Liberal Education”, Address to the New York City High School Teachers Association (9 January 1909)The purpose of a university should be to make a son as unlike his father as possible. By the time a man has grown old enough to have a son in college he has specialized. The university should generalize the treatment of its undergraduates, should struggle to put them in touch with every force of life.
“The University's Part in Political Life” (13 March 1909) in PWW (The Papers of Woodrow Wilson) 19:99At every crisis in one's life, it is absolute salvation to have some sympathetic friend to whom you can think aloud without restraint or misgiving.
Letter to Mary Allen Hulbert Peck (1 August 1909), PWW 19:321
==== A History of the American People, Vol. 9 (1902) ====
New York and London, Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1918
The Southern legislatures which Mr. Johnson authorized set up saw the need for action no less than Congress did. It was a menace to society itself that the negroes should thus of a sudden be set free and left without tutelage or restraint. Some stayed very quietly by their old masters and gave no trouble, but most yielded, as was to have been expected, to the novel impulses and excitement of freedom and made their way to the camps and cities, where the blue-coated soldiers were, and the agents of the Freedman’s Bureau.
pp. 18-19Adventurers swarmed out of the North to cozen, beguile, and use them. These men were ‘carpet baggers’… They gained the confidence of the negroes, obtained for themselves the most lucrative offices, and lived upon the public treasury, public contracts, and their easy control of affairs… For the Negroes there was nothing but occasional allotments of abandon or forfeited land, the pay of petty offices, a per diem allowances as members of the conventions and the state legislatures which their new masters made business for, or the wages of servants in the various offices of administration. Their ignorance and credulity made them easy dupes.
p. 46The white men of the South were aroused by the mere instinct of self-preservation to rid themselves, by fair means or foul, of the intolerable burden of governments sustained by the votes of ignorant negroes and conducted in the interest of adventurers.”
p. 58Every country-side wished to have its own Ku Klux, founded in secrecy and mystery like the mother ‘Den’ at Pulaski, until at last there had sprung into existence a great Ku Klux Klan, an ‘Invisible Empire of the South,’ bound together in loose organization to protect the southern country from some of the ugliness hazards of a time of revolution.
p. 60It was plain to see that the trouble in the southern States arose out of the exclusion of the better whites from the electoral suffrage no less than from the admission of the most ignorant blacks.
=== 1910s ===
The great voice of America does not come from the seats of learning, but in a murmur from the hills and the woods and the farms and the factories and the mills, rolling on and gaining volume until it comes to us the voice from the homes of the common men. Do these murmurs come into the corridors of the university? I have not heard them.
Address to Princeton University alumni, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (April 17, 1910); reported in The Papers of Woodrow Wilson, ed. Arthur S. Link (1975), vol. 20, p. 365RADICAL—one who goes too far.CONSERVATIVE—one who does not go far enough.REACTIONARY—one who does not go at all.
Speech to Kansas Society of New York (23 January 1911) — Wilson's definition of different groups, PWW 22:389No man can sit down and withhold his hands from the warfare against wrong and get peace from his acquiescence.
“A Book Which Reveals Men to Themselves”, Address on the Tercentenary of the Tranlation of the Bible (7 May 1911) in The Politics of Woodrow Wilson, p. 104Most men are individuals no longer so far as their business, its activities, or its moralities are concerned. They are not units but fractions; with their individuality and independence of choice in matters of business they have lost all their individual choice within the field of morals.
Annual address, American Bar Association, Chattanooga (31 August 1910)America lives in the heart of every man everywhere who wishes to find a region where he will be free to work out his destiny as he chooses.
Campaign speech in Chicago (6 April 1912)Business underlies everything in our national life, including our spiritual life. Witness the fact that in the Lord's Prayer, the first petition is for daily bread. No one can worship God or love his neighbor on an empty stomach.
Speech in New York (23 May 1912)You know that it was Jefferson who said that the best government is that which does as little governing as possible…. But that time is passed. America is not now and cannot in the future be a place for unrestricted individual enterprise.
“Campaign Address in Scranton, Penn.,” (September 23, 1912) Prosperity … is necessarily the first theme of a political campaign.
Campaign speech, 1912, PWW 25:99I always remember that America was established not to create wealth—though any nation must create wealth which is going to make an economic foundation for its life—but to realize a vision, to realize an ideal. America has put itself under bonds to the earth to discover and maintain liberty now among men, and if she cannot see liberty now with the clear, unerring vision she had at the outset, she has lost her title, she has lost every claim to the leadership and respect of the nations of the world.
“The Coming On of a New Spirit”, speech to Chicago Democrat's Iriquois Club (12 February 1912), The Politics of Woodrow Wilson, p. 180
Sometimes abbreviated to: “America was established not to create wealth but to realize a vision, to realize an ideal—to discover and maintain liberty among men.”Liberty is its own reward.
Speech in New York City (9 September 1912)I would … rather lose in a cause that I know some day will triumph than triumph in a cause that I know some day will lose.
Speech in Syracuse (12 September 1912) PWW 25:145Liberty has never come from the government. Liberty has always come from the subjects of the government. The history of liberty is a history of resistance. The history of liberty is a history of the limitation of governmental power, not the increase of it.
Speech at New York Press Club (9 September 1912), in The papers of Woodrow Wilson, 25:124Mr. House is my second personality. He is my independent self. His thoughts and mine are one. If I were in his place I would do just as he suggested.
As quoted in The Intimate Papers of Colonel House, vol. I (Houghton Mifflin) by Charles Seymour, p. 114-115; also referenced here. (1912)There can be no equality or opportunity, the first essential of justice in the body politic, if men and women and children be not shielded in their lives, their very vitality, from the consequences of great industrial and social processes which they can not alter, control, or singly cope with.
First Inaugural Address (4 March 1913)The success of a party means little except when the Nation is using that party for a large and definite purpose.
First Inaugural Address (4 March 1913)Power consists in one's capacity to link his will with the purpose of others, to lead by reason and a gift of cooperation.
From a letter to Mary A. Hulbert (21 September 1913)If you think too much about being re-elected, it is very difficult to be worth re-electing.
Rededication and restoration of Congress Hall, Philadelphia (25 October 1913)You are not here merely to prepare to make a living. You are here to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, and with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget this errand.
“Ideals of College”, Swarthmore (25 October 1913)You cannot be friends upon any other terms than upon the terms of equality.
Address on Latin American Policy before the Southern Commercial Congress Mobile, Alabama (27 October 1913)I would rather belong to a poor nation that was free than to a rich nation that had ceased to be in love with liberty.
Address on Latin American Policy before the Southern Commercial Congress Mobile, Alabama (27 October 1913)I am going to teach the South American republics to elect good men.
Statement to British envoy William Tyrrell explaining his policy on Mexico (November 1913)The way to stop financial joy-riding is to arrest the chauffeur, not the automobile.
The Atlanta Constitution (14 January 1914), p. 1I not only use all the brains I have, but all I can borrow, and I have borrowed a lot since I read it to you first.
Speech to the National Press Club (20 March 1914)There are blessed intervals when I forget by one means or another that I am President of the United States.
Speech to the National Press Club (20 March 1914)The United States must be neutral in fact as well as in name...We must be impartial in thought as well as in action.
Message to the Senate (19 August 1914)Segregation is not humiliating but a benefit, and ought to be so regarded by you gentlemen. If your organization goes out and tells the colored people of the country that it is a humiliation, they will so regard it, but if you do not tell them so, and regard it rather as a benefit, they will regard it the same. The only harm that will come will be if you cause them to think it is a humiliation... If this organization is ever to have another hearing before me it must have another spokesman. Your manner offends me...
Defending the re-segregation of federal offices, in Conference with members of the National Association for Equal Rights (November 1914)You deal in the raw material of opinion, and, if my convictions have any validity, opinion ultimately governs the world.
Address to the Associated Press (20 April 1915)No nation is fit to sit in judgment upon any other nation.
Speech in New York City (20 April 1915)There is such thing as a man being too proud to fight.
Address to Foreign-Born Citizens (10 May 1915)No man that does not see visions will ever realize any high hope or undertake any high enterprise.
“Citizens of Foreign Birth”, Philadelphia (10 May 1915)There is such a thing as a nation being so right that it does not need to convince others by force that it is right.
“Citizens of Foreign Birth]”, (10 May 1915)We are constantly thinking of the great war … which which we think to-day as a war which saved the Union, and it did indeed save the Union, but it was a war that did a great deal more than that. It created in this country what had never existed before — a national consciousness. It was not the salvation of the Union, it was the rebirth of the Union.
Memorial Day Address (31 May 1915)The flag is the embodiment, not of sentiment, but of history. It represents the experiences made by men and women, the experiences of those who do and live under that flag.
Address (14 June 1915)There is a very great thrill to be had from the memories of the American Revolution, but the American Revolution was a beginning, not a consummation, and the duty laid upon us by that beginning is the duty of bringing the things then begun to a noble triumph of completion.
“On the Spirit of America”, Address to Daughters of the American Revoltion (11 October 1915)We have stood apart, studiously neutral.
Message to Congress (7 December 1915)Politics I conceive to be nothing more than the science of the ordered progress of society along the lines of greatest usefulness and convenience to itself.
“What is Pan-Americanism?”, Address to Pan American Scientific Congress (6 January 1916)Do you never stop to reflect just what it is that America stands for? If she stands for one thing more than another, it is for the sovereignty of self-governing peoples, and her example, her assistance, her encouragement, has thrilled two continents in this Western World with all the fine impulses which have built up human liberty on both sides of the water.
Speech on Military Preparedness, Pittsburgh (29 January 1916)We want the spirit of America to be efficient; we want American character to be efficient; we want American character to display itself in what I may, perhaps, be allowed to call spiritual efficiency—clear, disinterested thinking and fearless action along the right lines of thought. America is not anything if it consists of each of us. It is something only if it consists of all of us; and it can consist of all of us only as our spirits are banded together in a common enterprise.
Speech on Military Preparedness, Pittsburgh (29 January 1916)One cool judgment is worth a thousand hasty counsels. The thing to do is to supply light and not heat.
Speech on Military Preparedness, Pittsburgh (29 January 1916)Some men who are not real men love other things about themselves, but the real man believes that his honor is dearer than his life; and a nation is merely all of us put together, and the nation's honor is dearer than the nation's comfort and the nation's peace and the nation's life itself.
Speech in Cleveland (January 1916)America cannot be an ostrich with its head in the sand.
Speech at Des Moines (1 February 1916)There is a price which is too great to pay for peace, and that price can be put in one word. One cannot pay the price of self-respect.
Des Moines Iowa speech (1 February 1916), on "The Westerm Preparedness Tour"The only excuse that America can ever have for the assertion of her physical force is that she asserts it in behalf of the interests of humanity.
Speech to the Daughters of the American Revolution at Memorial Continental Hall in Washington, D.C. on April 17, 1916I have long enjoyed the friendship and companionship of Republicans, because I am by instinct a teacher and I would like to teach them something.
Speech to the World's Salesmanship Congress (10 July 1916)If you want to make enemies, try to change something.
Address to World's Salesmanship Congress, Detroit (10 July 1916)Loyalty means nothing unless it has at its heart the absolute principle of self-sacrifice.
Address on American Spirit, Washington (13 July 1916)I am inclined to follow the course suggested by a friend of mine who says that he has always followed the rule never to murder a man who is committing suicide, and clearly this misdirected gentleman is committing suicide slowly but surely.
Letter to Bernard Baruch (19 August 1916), PWW 38:51
Variant: Never attempt to murder a man who is committing suicide.The question upon which the whole future peace and policy of the world depends is this: Is the present war a struggle for a just and secure peace, or only for a new balance of power? If it be only a struggle for a new balance of power, who will guarantee, who can guarantee, the stable equilibrium of the new arrangement? Only a tranquil Europe can be a stable Europe. There must be, not a balance of power, but a community of power; not organized rivalries, but an organized common peace.
Address to the Senate (22 January 1917)It must be a peace without victory... Victory would mean peace forced upon the loser, a victor's terms imposed upon the vanquished. It would be accepted in humiliation, under duress, at an intolerable sacrifice, and would leave a sting, a resentment, a bitter memory upon which terms of peace would rest, not permanently, but only as upon quicksand. Only a peace between equals can last.
Address to the Senate (22 January 1917)A little group of willful men, representing no opinion but their own, have rendered the great Government of the United States helpless and contemptible.
Statement on the successful filibuster by anti-war Senators against a bill to arm merchant ships (4 March 1917)Once lead this people into war and they will forget there ever was such a thing as tolerance.
Conversation with Frank Irving Cobb before asking Congress to declare war (2 April 1917). Attributed in Cobb of "The World," a leader of liberalism, by Cobb and Heaton, 1924, p. 270The supreme test of the nation has come. We must all speak, act, and serve together!
Proclamation to the American People (15 April 1917)I can imagine no greater disservice to the country than to establish a system of censorship that would deny to the people of a free republic like our own their indisputable right to criticise their own public officials. While exercising the great powers of the office I hold, I would regret in a crisis like the one through which we are now passing to lose the benefit of patriotic and intelligent criticism.
Letter to Arthur Brisbane (April 25, 1917); reported in Ray Stannard Baker, Woodrow Wilson, Life and Letters (1946), vol. 6, p. 36I have read it with the deepest appreciation of Mr. Herron's singular insight into all the elements of a complicated situation and into my own motives and purposes.
Letter to Mitchell Kennerley about the book Woodrow Wilson and the World's Peace, October 1, 1917Well, nothing was ever done so systematically as nothing is being done now.
Address to fleet officers (August 11, 1917), quoted in Joseph P. Tumulty, Woodrow Wilson As I Know Him (1921), p. 297Friendship is the only cement that will ever hold the world together.
Red Cross Speech, New York (18 May 1918)We are all agreed that there can be no peace obtained by any kind of bargain or compromise with the governments of the Central Empires, because we have dealt with them already and have seen them deal with other governments that were parties to this struggle, at Brest Litovsk and Bucharest. They have convinced us that they are without honour and do not intend justice. They observe no covenants, accept no principle but force and their own interest. We cannot “come to terms” with them. They have made it impossible. The German people must by this time be fully aware that we cannot accept the word of those who forced this war upon us. We do not think the same thoughts or speak the same language of agreement.
Speech in the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City (September 27, 1918)Conservatism is the policy of making no changes and consulting your grandmother when in doubt.
Attributed by Raymond B. Fosdick in Report of the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, 1963, p. 49The Germans are really a stupid people. They always do the wrong thing. They always did the wrong thing during the war. They don't understand human nature. This is the most tactless speech I have ever heard. It will set the whole world against them.
Remarks to George Riddell (7 May 1919), J. M. McEwen (ed.), The Riddell Diaries 1908–1923 (1986), p. 275. The German plenipotentiary at the presentation of the Treaty of Versailles, Ulrich von Brockdorff-Rantzau, unexpectedly made a lengthy speech sitting down.America is the place where you can not kill your Government by killing the men who conduct it. The only way you can kill government in America is by making the men and women of America forget how to govern, and nobody can do that. They sometimes find the team a little difficult to drive, but they sooner or later whip it into harness.
"Address at Opera House, Helena Montana" (September 11, 1919), in, Addresses of President Wilson (1919), p. 154.If every nation is going to be our rival, if every nation is going to dislike and distrust us, and that will be the case, because having trusted us beyond measure the reaction will occur beyond measure (as it stands now they trust us they look to us, they long that we shall undertake anything for their assistance rather than that any other nation should undertake it)— if we say, "No, we are in this world to live by ourselves, and get what we can out of it by any selfish processes," then the reaction will change the whole heart and attitude of the world toward this great, free, justice-loving people, and after you have changed the attitude of the world, what have you produced? Peace? Why, my fellow citizens, is there any man here or any woman, let me say is there any child here, who does not know that the seed of war in the modern world is industrial and commercial rivalry? The real reason that the war that we have just finished took place was that Germany was afraid her commercial rivals were going to get the better of her, and' the reason why some nations went into the war against Germany was that they thought Germany would get the commercial advantage of them. The seed of the jealousy, the seed of the deep-seated hatred was hot, successful commercial and industrial rivalry.
Speech at the Coliseum in St. Louis, Missouri, on the Peace Treaty and the League of Nations (5 September 1919), as published in "The Public Papers of Woodrow Wilson (Authorized Edition) War and Peace: Presidential Messages, Addresses, and Public Papers (1917-1924) Vol. I, p. 637. Addresses Delivered by President Wilson on his Western Tour - September 4 To September 25, 1919. From 66th Congress, 1st Session, Senate Document No. 120, and in Addresses of President Wilson : Addresses Delivered by President Wilson on his Western Tour - September 4 To September 25, 1919 - On The League of Nations, Treaty of Peace with Germany, Industrial Conditions, High Cost of Living, Race Riots, Etc. (1919)This war, in its inception was a commercial and industrial war. It was not a political war.
Speech at the Coliseum in St. Louis, Missouri, on the Peace Treaty and the League of Nations (5 September 1919), as published in "The Public Papers of Woodrow Wilson (Authorized Edition) War and Peace: Presidential Messages, Addresses, and Public Papers (1917-1924) by Woodrow Wilson Volume I Page 638. Addresses Delivered by President Wilson on his Western Tour - September 4 To September 25, 1919. From 66th Congress, 1st Session, Senate Document No. 120I can predict with absolute certainty that within another generation there will be another world war if the nations of the world do not concert the method by which to prevent it.
Speech in Omaha, Nebraska (8 September 1919), as recorded in Addresses of President Wilson (1919), p. 75 and in "The Public Papers of Woodrow Wilson (Authorized Edition) War and Peace: Presidential Messages, Addresses, and Public Papers (1917-1924) Volume II Page 36; Wilson later used this phrase in his address in Pueblo, Colorado, in what has been called his League of Nations Address (25 September 1919)[Note: this phrase is not in Wilson's address in Pueblo, Colorado (25 September 1919). He made a much softer statement making the inevitability of a future war without the League implicit rather than explicit.]Sometimes people call me an idealist. Well, that is the way I know I am an American. America, my fellow citizens — I do not say it in disparagement of any other great people—America is the only idealistic Nation in the world. When I speak practical judgments about business affairs, I can only guess whether I am speaking the voice of America or not, but when I speak the ideal purposes of history I know that I am speaking the voice of America, because I have saturated myself since I was a boy in the records of that spirit, and everywhere in them there is this authentic tone of the love of justice and the service of humanity. If by any mysterious influence of error America should not take the leading part in this new enterprise of concerted power, the world would experience one of those reversals of sentiment, one of those penetrating chills of reaction, which would lead to a universal cynicism, for if America goes back upon mankind, mankind has no other place to turn. It is the hope of nations all over the world that America will do this great thing.
Address at Sioux Falls (8 September 1919), as recorded in Addresses of President Wilson (1919), p. 86; the first portion of this quote has sometimes been paraphrased: "Sometimes people call me an idealist. Well, that is the way I know I am an American. America is the only idealistic nation in the world."The seed of revolution is repression.
7th annual message to Congress (2 December 1919)There are those in this country who threaten direct action to force their will, upon a majority. Russia today, with its blood and terror, is a painful object lesson of the power of minorities. It makes little difference what minority it is; whether capital or labor, or any other class; no sort of privilege will ever be permitted to dominate this country. We are a partnership or nothing that is worth while. We are a democracy, where the majority are the masters, or all the hopes and purposes of the men who founded this government have been defeated and forgotten. In America there is but one way by which great reforms can be accomplished and the relief sought by classes obtained, and that is through the orderly processes of representative government. Those who would propose any other method of reform are enemies of this country. America will not be daunted by threats nor lose her composure or calmness in these distressing times. We can afford, in the midst of this day of passion and unrest, to be self - contained and sure. The instrument of all reform in America is the ballot. The road to economic and social reform in America is the straight road of justice to all classes and conditions of men. Men have but to follow this road to realize the full fruition of their objects and purposes. Let those beware who would take the shorter road of disorder and revolution. The right road is the road of justice and orderly process.
Woodrow Wilson: "7th Annual Message", December 2, 1919. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project.
==== The New Freedom (1913) ====
The New Freedom : A Call For the Emancipation of the Generous Energies of a People (Full text online)
I have not written a book since the campaign. I did not write this book at all. It is the result of the editorial literary skill of Mr. William Bayard Hale, who has put together here in their right sequences the more suggestive portions of my campaign speeches. And yet it is not a book of campaign speeches. It is a discussion of a number of very vital subjects in the free form of extemporaneously spoken words. I have left the sentences in the form in which they were stenographically reported. I have not tried to alter the easy-going and often colloquial phraseology in which they were uttered from the platform, in the hope that they would seem the more fresh and spontaneous because of their very lack of pruning and recasting.
Preface, p. viiIn most parts of our country men work, not for themselves, not as partners in the old way in which they used to work, but generally as employees,—in a higher or lower grade,—of great corporations. There was a time when corporations played a very minor part in our business affairs, but now they play the chief part, and most men are the servants of corporations.
Section I: “The Old Order Changeth”, p. 5Since I entered politics, I have chiefly had men's views confided to me privately. Some of the biggest men in the United States, in the field of commerce and manufacture, are afraid of somebody, are afraid of something. They know that there is a power somewhere so organized, so subtle, so watchful, so interlocked, so complete, so pervasive, that they had better not speak above their breath when they speak in condemnation of it. They know that America is not a place of which it can be said, as it used to be, that a man may choose his own calling and pursue it just as far as his abilities enable him to pursue it; because to-day, if he enters certain fields, there are organizations which will use means against him that will prevent his building up a business which they do not want to have built up; organizations that will see to it that the ground is cut from under him and the markets shut against him. For if he begins to sell to certain retail dealers, to any retail dealers, the monopoly will refuse to sell to those dealers, and those dealers, afraid, will not buy the new man's wares.
Section I: “The Old Order Changeth”, p. 13American industry is not free, as once it was free; American enterprise is not free; the man with only a little capital is finding it harder to get into the field, more and more impossible to compete with the big fellow. Why? Because the laws of this country do not prevent the strong from crushing the weak. That is the reason, and because the strong have crushed the weak the strong dominate the industry and the economic life of this country. No man can deny that the lines of endeavor have more and more narrowed and stiffened; no man who knows anything about the development of industry in this country can have failed to observe that the larger kinds of credit are more and more difficult to obtain, unless you obtain them upon the terms of uniting your efforts with those who already control the industries of the country; and nobody can fail to observe that any man who tries to set himself up in competition with any process of manufacture which has been taken under the control of large combinations of capital will presently find himself either squeezed out or obliged to sell and allow himself to be absorbed.
Section I: “The Old Order Changeth”, p. 15No country can afford to have its prosperity originated by a small controlling class. The treasury of America lies in those ambitions, those energies, that cannot be restricted to a special favored class. It depends upon the inventions of unknown men, upon the originations of unknown men, upon the ambitions of unknown men. Every country is renewed out of the ranks of the unknown, not out of the ranks of those already famous and powerful and in control.
Section I: “The Old Order Changeth”, p. 17The government, which was designed for the people, has got into the hands of the bosses and their employers, the special interests. An invisible empire has been set up above the forms of democracy.
Section II: “What is Progress?”, p. 35Government is not a machine, but a living thing. It falls, not under the theory of the universe, but under the theory of organic life. It is accountable to Darwin, not to Newton.
Section II: “What Is Progress?”, p. 47All that progressives ask or desire is permission — in an era when "development," "evolution," is the scientific word — to interpret the Constitution according to the Darwinian principle; all they ask is recognition of the fact that a nation is a living thing and not a machine.
Section II: “What Is Progress?”, p. 48No student knows his subject: the most he knows is where and how to find out the things he does not know.
Section V: “The Parliament of the People”, p. 100So, our honest politicians and our honorable corporation heads owe it to their reputations to bring their activities out into the open.
Section VI: “Let There Be Light”, p. 36 (Note: different pagination from other references here)The man who is swimming against the stream knows the strength of it.
Section VIII: “Monopoly, or Opportunity?”, p. 117A great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is privately concentrated. The growth of the nation, therefore, and all our activities are in the hands of a few men who, even if their action be honest and intended for the public interest, are necessarily concentrated upon the great undertakings in which their own money is involved and who necessarily, by very reason of their own limitations, chill and check and destroy genuine economic freedom. This is the greatest question of all, and to this statesmen must address themselves with an earnest determination to serve the long future and the true liberties of men.
Section VIII: “Monopoly, Or Opportunity?”, p. 185. Note that this remark has been used as the basis for a fake quotation discussed below.Let me say again that I am not impugning the motives of the men in Wall Street. They may think that that is the best way to create prosperity for the country. When you have got the market in your hand, does honesty oblige you to turn the palm upside down and empty it? If you have got the market in your hand and believe that you understand the interest of the country better than anybody else, is it patriotic to let it go? I can imagine them using this argument to themselves. The dominating danger in this land is not the existence of great individual combinations, — that is dangerous enough in all conscience, — but the combination of the combinations, — of the railways, the manufacturing enterprises, the great mining projects, the great enterprises for the development of the natural water-powers of the country, threaded together in the personnel of a series of boards of directors into a "community of interest" more formidable than any conceivable single combination that dare appear in the open.
Section VIII: “Monopoly, Or Opportunity?”, p. 186We are at the parting of the ways. We have, not one or two or three, but many, established and formidable monopolies in the United States. We have, not one or two, but many, fields of endeavor into which it is difficult, if not impossible, for the independent man to enter. We have restricted credit, we have restricted opportunity, we have controlled development, and we have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated, governments in the civilized world — no longer a government by free opinion, no longer a government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a government by the opinion and the duress of small groups of dominant men.
Section IX: “Benevolence, Or Justice?”, p. 201If there are men in this country big enough to own the government of the United States, they are going to own it; what we have to determine now is whether we are big enough, whether we are men enough, whether we are free enough, to take possession again of the government which is our own.
Section XII: “The Liberation of a People's Vital Energies”, p. 286
==== Address to Congress on War (1917) ====
Address asking for a declaration of war (2 April 1917) Armed neutrality, it now appears, is impracticable.The world must be made safe for democracy. Its peace must be planted upon the tested foundations of political liberty.It is a fearful thing to lead this great peaceful people into war, into the most terrible and disastrous of all wars, civilization itself seeming to be in the balance. But the right is more precious than peace, and we shall fight for the things which we have always carried nearest our hearts — for democracy, for the right of those who submit to authority to have a voice in their own governments, for the rights and liberties of small nations, for a universal dominion of right by such a concert of free peoples as shall bring peace and safety to all nations and make the world itself at last free. To such a task we can dedicate our lives and our fortunes, everything that we are and everything that we have, with the pride of those who know that the day has come when America is privileged to spend her blood and her might for the principles that gave her birth and happiness and the peace which she has treasured. God helping her, she can do no other.
==== The Fourteen Points Speech (1918) ====
The Fourteen Points Speech (8 January 1918)All the peoples of the world are in effect partners in this interest, and for our own part we see very clearly that unless justice be done to others it will not be done to us.1. Open covenants of peace must be arrived at.2. Absolute freedom of navigation upon the seas, outside territorial waters, alike in peace and in war.5. A free, open-minded, and absolutely impartial adjustment of all colonial claims.14. A general association of nations must be formed under specific covenants for the purpose of affording mutual guarantees of political independence and territorial integrity to great and small states alike.
==== Address to Congress: Analyzing German and Austrian Peace Utterances (1918) ====
Address to Congress: Analyzing German and Austrian Peace Utterances, Delivered to the U.S. Congress in Joint Session on (11 February 1918)
What is at at stake now is the peace of the world. What we are striving for is a new international order based upon broad and universal principles of right and justice, — no mere peace of shreds and patches.The peace of the world depends upon the just settlement of each of the several problems to which I adverted in my recent address to the Congress. I, of course, do not mean that the peace of the world depends upon the acceptance of any particular set of suggestions as to the way in which those problems are to be dealt with. I mean only that those problems each and all affect the whole world; that unless they are dealt with in a spirit of unselfish and unbiased justice, with a view to the wishes, the natural connections, the racial aspirations, the security, and the peace of mind of the peoples involved, no permanent peace will have been attained. They cannot be discussed separately or in corners. None of them constitutes a private or separate interest from which the opinion of the world may be shut out. Whatever affects the peace affects mankind, and nothing settled by military force, if settled wrong, is settled at all. It will presently have to be reopened.There shall be no annexations, no contributions, no punitive damage. Peoples are not to be handed about from one sovereignty to another by an international conference or an understanding between rivals and antagonists. National aspirations must be respected; peoples may now be dominated and governed only by their own consent. "Self-determination" is not a mere phrase. It is an imperative principle of actions which statesmen will henceforth ignore at their peril. We cannot have general peace for the asking, or by the mere arrangements of a peace conference. It cannot be pieced together out of individual understandings between powerful states. All the parties to this war must join in the settlement of every issue anywhere involved in it; because what we are seeking is a peace that we can all unite to guarantee and maintain and every item of it must be submitted to the common judgment whether it be right and fair, an act of justice, rather than a bargain between sovereigns.This war had its roots in the disregard of the rights of small nations and of nationalities which lacked the union and the force to make good their claim to determine their own allegiances and their own forms of political life. Covenants must now be entered into which will render such things impossible for the future; and those covenants must be backed by the united force of all the nations that love justice and are willing to maintain it at any cost.After all, the test of whether it is possible for either government to go any further in this comparison of views is simple and obvious. The principles to be applied are these: First, that each part of the final settlement must be based upon the essential justice of that particular case and upon such adjustments as are most likely to bring a peace that will be permanent; second, that peoples and provinces are not to be bartered about from sovereignty to sovereignty as if they were mere chattels and pawns in a game, even the great game, now forever discredited, of the balance of power; but that third, every territorial settlement involved in this war must be made in the interest and for the benefit of the populations concerned, and not as a part of any mere adjustment or compromise of claims amongst rival states; and fourth, that all well defined national aspirations shall be accorded the utmost satisfaction that can be accorded them without introducing new or perpetuating old elements of discord and antagonism that would be likely in time to breaks the peace of Europe and consequently of the world. A general peace erected upon such foundations can be discussed. Until such a peace can be secured we have no choice but to go on.Our whole strength will be put into this war of emancipation, — emancipation from the threat and attempted mastery of selfish groups of autocratic rulers, — whatever the difficulties and present partial delays. We are indomitable in our power of independent action and can in no circumstances consent to live in a world governed by intrigue and force. We believe that our own desire for a new international order under which reason and justice and the common interests of mankind shall prevail is the desire of enlightened men everywhere. Without that new order the world will be without peace and human life will lack tolerable conditions of existence and development. Having set our hand to the task of achieving it, we shall not turn back.I have spoken thus only that the whole world may know the true spirit of America — that men everywhere may know that our passion for justice and for self-government is no mere passion of words but a passion which, once set in action, must be satisfied. The power of the United States is a menace to no nation or people. It will never be used in aggression or for the aggrandisement of any selfish interest of our own. It springs out of freedom and is for the service of freedom.
=== 1920s and later ===
The highest and best form of efficiency is the spontaneous cooperation of a free people.
As quoted in American Industry at War : A Report of the War Industries Board (March 1921) by Bernard Baruch[Reconstruction was detestable] not because the Republican Party was dreaded but because the dominance of an ignorant and inferior race was justly dreaded.
As quoted in Woodrow Wilson and the Roots of Modern Liberalism, Ronald J. Pestritto, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2005, p. 45. Came from Wilson’s marginal notes on one of his manuscripts.It will take one hundred years to eradicate this prejudice, and we must deal with it as practical men. Segregation is not humiliating, but a benefit, and ought to be so regarded by you gentlemen.
As quoted in “Expunging Woodrow Wilson from Official Places of Honor,” Randy Barnett, The Washington Post, June 25, 2015, Wilson’s reply to William Monroe Trotter. Of course, like every other man of intelligence and education I do believe in organic evolution. It surprises me that at this late date such questions should be raised.
Letter to Winterton C. Curtis (29 August 1922)Perhaps it was providential that I was stricken down when I was. Had I kept my health I should have carried the League. Events have shown that the world was not ready for it. It would have been a failure. Countries like France and Italy are unsympathetic with such an organisation. Time and sinister happenings may eventually convince them that some such scheme is required. It may not be my scheme. It may be some other. I see now, however, that my plan was premature. The world was not ripe for it.
Remarks to Barney Baruch quoted in George Riddell's diary (10 September 1923), J. M. McEwen (ed.), The Riddell Diaries 1908–1923 (1986), pp. 388–389The sum of the whole matter is this, that our civilization cannot survive materially unless it be redeemed spiritually.
“The Road Away from Revolution”, Atlantic Monthly 132:146 (August 1923). Reprinted in PWW 68:395The great malady of public life is cowardice. Most men are not untrue, but they are afraid. Most of the errors of public life, if my observation is to be trusted, come not because men are morally bad, but because they are afraid of somebody. God knows why they should be: it is generally shadows they are afraid of.
As quoted in American Chronicle (1945) by Ray Stannard Baker, quoted on unnumbered page opposite p. 1If I am to speak ten minutes, I need a week for preparation; if fifteen minutes, three days; if half an hour, two days; if an hour, I am ready now.
As quoted in The Wilson Era; Years of War and After, 1917–1923 (1946) by Josephus Daniels, p. 624. Referenced in "Bartleby.com"Gossips are only sociologists upon a mean and petty scale.
On Being Human, The Atlantic Monthly, (September, 1897)
== Quotes about Wilson ==
Sorted alphabetically by author or sourceMcCarthy was a Republican. The Democrats, however, have skeletons in their own closet and it's worth remembering them, too. For example, Democrat Woodrow Wilson's Attorney General, A. Mitchell Palmer, who was just as rabid an anti-Communist as McCarthy, did far more to repress free speech and political freedom than McCarthy ever attempted.
Bruce Bartlett, Wrong on Race: The Democratic Party's Buried Past (2008), p. xiThe European War, which began in 1914, is now generally recognized to have been a war between two rival empires, an old one and a new, the new becoming such a successful rival of the old, commercially and militarily, that the world-stage was, or was thought to be, not large enough for both. Germany spoke frankly of her need for expansion, and for new fields of enterprise for her surplus population. England, who likes to fight under a high-sounding title, got her opportunity in the invasion of Belgium. She was entering the war 'in defense of the freedom of small nationalities'. America at first looked on, but she accepted the motive in good faith, and she ultimately joined in as the champion of the weak against the strong. She concentrated attention upon the principle of self-determination and the reign of law based upon the consent of the governed. "Shall", asked President Wilson, "the military power of any small nation, or group of nations, be suffered to determine the fortunes of peoples over whom they have no right to rule except the right of force?" But the most flagrant instance of violation of this principle did not seem to strike the imagination of President Wilson, and he led the American nation- peopled so largely by Irish men and women who had fled from British oppression- into the battle and to the side of the nation that for hundreds of years had determined the fortunes of the Irish people against their wish, and had ruled them, and was still ruling them, by no other right than the right of force.
Michael Collins, as quoted in A Path to Freedom (2010), p. 38To the people of the United States, the death of Woodrow Wilson, President of the United States from March 4, 1913, to March 4, 1921, which occurred at 11:15 o'clock today at his home at Washington, District of Columbia, deprives the country of a most distinguished citizen, and is an event which causes universal and genuine sorrow. To many of us it brings the sense of a profound personal bereavement... His early profession as a lawyer was abandoned to enter academic life. In this chosen field he attained the highest rank as an educator, and has left his impress upon the intellectual thought of the country. From the Presidency of Princeton University he was called by his fellow citizens to be the Chief Executive of the State of New Jersey. The duties of this high office he so conducted as to win the confidence of the people of the United States, who twice elected him to the Chief Magistracy of the Republic. As President of the United States he was moved by an earnest desire to promote the best interests of the country as he conceived them. His acts were prompted by high motives and his sincerity of purpose can not be questioned. He led the nation through the terrific struggle of the world war with a lofty idealism which never failed him. He gave utterance to the aspiration of humanity with an eloquence which held the attention of all the earth and made America a new and enlarged influence in the destiny of mankind.
Calvin Coolidge, "Proclamation Upon the Death of Woodrow Wilson" (March 1924), Washington, D.C.In testimony of the respect in which his memory is held by the Government and people of the United States, I do hereby direct that the flags of the White House and of the several Departmental buildings be displayed at half staff for a period of thirty days, and that suitable military and naval honors under orders of the Secretary of War and of the Secretary of the Navy may be rendered on the day of the funeral.
Calvin Coolidge, as quoted in "Proclamation Upon the Death of Woodrow Wilson" (March 1924), Washington, D.C.With the exception of Gladstone, probably no man in supreme power in the life of any nation was so profoundly imbued by the Christian faith.
Raymond B. Fosdick, Chronicle of a Generation: An Autobiography (1958), p. 44I do not know how to avoid the conclusion that a man who is capable of taking the illusions of religion so literally and is so sure of a special personal intimacy with the Almighty is unfitted for relations with ordinary children of men.
Sigmund Freud, in Woodrow Wilson: A Psychological Study (1966) by Sigmund Freud and William Christian Bullitt, Jr., remarking on a statement attributed to Wilson after his election victory: “Remember that God ordained that I should be the next president of the United States. Neither you nor any other mortal or mortals could have prevented this.”Democratic President Woodrow Wilson's Cabinet segregated government offices. Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed KKK member Hugo Black to the Supreme Court. Roosevelt opposed federal lynching laws. Lester Maddox, George Wallace and Orval Faubus, all Democratic governors, were fervent racists. Democratic Attorney General Robert Kennedy had Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. wiretapped, much like we do today to suspected terrorists and criminals. The Democratic Party keeps black Americans and all minority groups in poverty with 'entitlement' programs and policies preventing advancement.
Jones F. Gallagher, in a letter to the editor of the The Portland Press Herald, 30 November 2012We don't need Karl Marx's conception of a grand warfare between the classes to see that it is in the interest of complex management, economic or political, to dumb people down, to demoralize them, to divide them from one another, and to discard them if they don't conform. Class may frame the proposition, as when Woodrow Wilson, then president of Princeton University, said the following to the New York City School Teachers Association in 1909: "We want one class of persons to have a liberal education, and we want another class of persons, a very much larger class, of necessity, in every society, to forgo the privileges of a liberal education and fit themselves to perform specific difficult manual tasks."
John Taylor Gatto, "Against School", Harper's, September 2003I was seated between Jesus Christ and Napoleon.
David Lloyd George, in a comment about Wilson and Georges Clemenceau upon his return from the Paris Peace Conference (1919); as quoted in the article "International Relations" in The New Encyclopaedia Britannica (1993)[David Lloyd George] said he thought him more sincere than he had done at first. He talks a lot of sentimental platitudes, but he believes them. He is not a hypocrite nor a humbug. He is sincere. The difference between his point of view and that of old Clemenceau is marked. The old boy believes in none of Wilson's gods and does not understand them.
David Lloyd George quoted in George Riddell's diary (April 11, 1919), J. M. McEwen (ed.), The Riddell Diaries 1908–1923 (1986), p. 268[David Lloyd George] said he felt sure Wilson would occupy a great place in history. Neither he (LG) nor Clemenceau in connection with the Peace Conference had done any special thing which could be ear-marked as his work, whereas, for better or worse, Wilson had advocated an idea which had been embodied in the League of Nations. The League might fail, but it would be an historic fact.
David Lloyd George quoted in George Riddell's diary (November 14, 1920), J. M. McEwen (ed.), The Riddell Diaries 1908–1923 (1986), p. 328As a college undergraduate some decades ago, I was assigned an essay on the three most evil men of the 20th century. Adolf Hitler, Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong were obvious choices, and most of my fellow students chose from that group. I agreed on Hitler and Lenin, but felt that Stalin and Mao were just additional manifestations of the evil Lenin embodied. My third choice was Woodrow Wilson, which upset my professor at the time, but which I stand by today.The Nazis and the Soviet Empire are gone and while meager bands of the admirers of both survive to inhabit steamy corners of various ideological swamps, the evil for which Hitler and Mao were responsible died with the last century. Woodrow Wilson’s legacy, however, simply won’t go away. Schools and think tanks are named for the man and various polls continue to rate him as a great or near-great president. The “progressive” politics of today’s Democrats are part of his legacy, as is the instability of much of the world in which we live.Wilson, the first college president to occupy the White House, banned blacks from government restrooms, was the first president to openly attack the U.S. Constitution and eagerly support laws to prosecute and imprison those who disagreed with his policies. His hostility to black Americans was matched only by his antipathy toward Italian, German and Irish Americans and his desire to rid the nation of those he referred to dismissively as “hyphenated Americans” and against who he railed incessantly.
David Keene, The foul fruits of Woodrow Wilson: Unrestrained government and hounding of critics are the legacies of his 'progressive' politics, The Washington Times, 10 April 2017To see the British Prime Minister watching the company, with six or seven senses not available to ordinary men, judging character, motive, and subconscious impulse, perceiving what each was thinking and even what each was going to say next, and compounding with telepathic instinct the argument or appeal best suited to the vanity, weakness, or self-interest of his immediate auditor, was to realize that the poor President would be playing blind man's buff in that party.
John Maynard Keynes, on David Lloyd George and Wilson at the Paris Peace Conference, in The Economic Consequences of the Peace (1919), Ch. III, p. 41Wilson's principles survived the eclipse of the Versailles system and that they still guide European politics today: self-determination, democratic government, collective security, international law, and a league of nations. Wilson may not have gotten everything he wanted at Versailles, and his treaty was never ratified by the Senate, but his vision and his diplomacy, for better or worse, set the tone for the twentieth century. France, Germany, Italy, and Britain may have sneered at Wilson, but every one of these powers today conducts its European policy along Wilsonian lines. What was once dismissed as visionary is now accepted as fundamental. This was no mean achievement, and no European statesman of the twentieth century has had as lasting, as benign, or as widespread an influence.
Walter Russell Mead in Special Providence (2001)The date of March 4 may not have any significance in the African-American community other than personal birthdays and wedding anniversaries. However, March 4, 2013 will mark the centennial of the inauguration of Woodrow Wilson, the 28th President of the United States. On that day President Woodrow Wilson’s inauguration will be celebrated in Washington, D.C. Why would March 4 and Woodrow Wilson be significant for African Americans?
Robert K. Oliver, in "A National Day of Mourning for African Americans" FreeRepublic (4 March 2013)Wilson was a virulent racist who imposed white supremacist policies while serving as president of the United States.
Damon Root, "Dear Liberals, Stop Defending Racist Progressive Woodrow Wilson" (28 November 2015), ReasonThe Democrat Wilson was a dyed-in-the-wool bigot who as president tried to rid the national government of its few black employees, save, of course, those who could be cooks, waiters, drivers, or fill other kinds of menial jobs. Wilson was, indeed, as great a bigot toward blacks, as today's Democratic president is.
Michael Scheuer, in Michael Scheuer's Non-Intervention (9 July 2015)Wilson's parents were not Virginians. His father was born in Ohio, and his mother was born on the border between England and Scotland. Like many people from the Valley of Virginia, both of his parents sprang from Scottish stock. The older Wilsons learned to love Virginia and taught their son to love it too. In later years a newspaper writer said Wilson was a member of an old Virginia family. Wilson commented, "Of course, this is not true, but I wish I could say it were true." He felt that way because he was a Virginian in habits and thoughts. He said that he could speak out among Virginians because they were men of his "own race and breeding." Nowhere else, he believed, have the American traditions and ideals been kept so unbroken as they have in Virginia.
Francis Butler Simkins, Spotswood Hunnicutt, Sidman P. Poole, Virginia: History, Government, Geography (1957), p. 512Where Coolidge stood on the race issue is clear, but he did not take any concrete steps to ease the burden of discrimination. Nevertheless, the conservative Coolidge has had a far better press on the race issue than the progressive Woodrow Wilson, who was one of the most bigoted persons ever to hold the nation's highest office.
Robert Springer, Nobody Knows Where the Blues Come from: Lyrics and History, p. 154
== See also ==
List of Presidents of the United States
== External links ==
Official White House biography
Profile at NNDB
Works by Woodrow Wilson at Project Gutenberg
First Inaugural Address
Second Inaugural Address
President Wilson's War Address
Woodrow Wilson Biography
Woodrow Wilson Links
The New FreedomRelated Wikimedia links
Treaty of Versailles
First World War
The Progressive Era