For those of us who went to public school back when some history was actually taught, (forget about whether it was truly an accurate portrayal of persons and events), we were taught how wonderful President Woodrow Wilson was. How he faced the pressures and convictions of having the US enter WW1. I remember how I was taught the issue of the League of Nations and how he really wanted the US to join and was crushed when the Congress voted not to join. What a great guy and president. Well, that is not entirely an accurate portrayal of this president. Surprise, surprise!! In fact, from what I have read and researched about President Wilson, he certainly was not what the books portrayed him to be. Here is a hint: he was the President of Princeton and was a big liberal. So, of course, academia is going to white wash things to put him in the best light as possible. As an aside, before I get into the subject of President Wilson, I want to make it clear that my purpose is to point people in the direction of the truth, wherever that may lead. Also, this is not meant to be a comprehensive article about President Wilson, but rather to offer facts (from another view point) and direction if you wish to pursue this topic further.
My focus is not to bash liberalism but to get to the truth (but when seeking the truth, liberalism usually gets bashed as a by product) . It just so happens that so many things that liberalism professes are lies and are deceitful. If you have been reading my previous posts, I hope that is clear. The same point also applies to what we have been taught in history, science, political science etc. I may focus what may seem to be the negative, but the actual facts of these persons, in this case President Wilson, are not happy positive facts, sad to say. And since we were taught just certain highlights and not the complete picture, I focus on what was not taught (at least from my experience, anyway).
In today’s parlance, President Wilson would be considered a misogynist and a racist (yeah, that word). While is he is attributed with the passing of the 19th Amendment, which allowed women to vote, he supported it because it was politically advantageous for him to do so, but he was always against women voting rights. “A progressive supporter of labor and banking reform, Wilson nonetheless opposed women’s suffrage. Women who spoke in public gave him a “chilled, scandalized feeling,” Wilson informed his fiance. In the 1912 presidential campaign, the Democrat told his staff that he was “definitely and irreconcilably opposed to woman suffrage,” that a “woman’s place was in the home, and the type of woman who took an active part in the suffrage agitation was totally abhorrent” to him.
Feminists despised him in return. They supported Teddy Roosevelt’s Bull Moose Party, the first to formally endorse women’s right to vote. When World War I erupted, suffragists picketed the White House with placards comparing Wilson to the hated German Kaiser. The president initially tipped his hat to the protesters he found ridiculous, but eventually had them arrested and jailed. However, Wilson did an about-face. In October 1918, he asked the U.S. Senate to honor those who had served “upon the very skirts and edges of the battle itself” by ratifying the 19th Amendment. The most overtly anti-feminist president became the foremost proponent of universal suffrage.” He did solely because it was necessary for him to do so from a political standpoint not because he believe in the movement.
Wilson was not a fan of the black population as well. In fact, he resegregated the army and is often remembered for the praise he gave to the controversial Civil War film “Birth of a Nation” in which the heroes who ride to the rescue in the end are the Ku Klux Klan. Wilson’s endorsement was so positive, it was featured in the film itself.
In 1913, President Wilson signed the Federal Reserve Act into law which created the Federal Reserve as we know it today. Incidentally, since this time, the US Dollar has lost 98% of its purchasing power under the Federal Reserve system. Wilson also created the federal income tax. However, Wilson has been quoted as saying that deeply regretted signing into law the Federal Reserve Act and believe he bestowed upon America a great injustice. Here is the quote, however there is some dispute as to whether or not he actually said it, but in many of the articles and books I have read about the Federal Reserve, the authors give him credit for this quote: “I am a most unhappy man. I have unwittingly ruined my country. A great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is concentrated. The growth of the nation, therefore, and all our activities are in the hands of a few men. 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 duress of a small group of dominant men.”
Ironic coming from a person who really did not look favorably upon the Constitution and for what it stood for.
Wilson criticized the diffuseness of government power in the US in his most famous book Congressional Government. In this work he confessed, “I cannot imagine power as a thing negative and not positive.” His love and worship of power was a prime characteristic of fascism. “If any trait bubbles up in all one reads about Wilson it is this: he loved, craved, and in a sense glorified power,” writes historian Walter McDougall. It should not surprise us that his idols were Abraham Lincoln and Otto von Bismarck.
“No doubt a lot of nonsense has been talked about the inalienable rights of the individual, and a great deal that was mere sentiment and pleasing speculation has been put forward as fundamental principle,” wrote Wilson, attacking the very individual rights that have made America great.
He rejected the principles of “separation of powers” and “checks and balances” that are the foundation of American government: “Government does now whatever experience permits or the times demand….” wrote Wilson in The State.
No fan of democracy or constitutional government, he wrote the following in Constitutional Government in the United States: “The President is at liberty, both in law and conscience, to be as big a man as he can. His capacity will set the limit….” Sounds like a devotee of the imperial presidency.
Indeed, in a disturbing 1890 essay entitled Leaders of Men, Wilson said that a “true leader” uses the masses of people like “tools.” He writes, “The competent leader of men cares little for the internal niceties of other people’s characters: he cares much–everything–for the external uses to which they may be put…. He supplies the power; others supply only the materials upon which that power operates…. It is the power which dictates, dominates; the materials yield. Men are as clay in the hands of the consummate leader.” So much for the dignity of each person!
“Woe be to the man or group of men that seeks to stand in our way,” said Wilson in June 1917 to counter protests to the fascist regime that he created upon entering WW I.
Wilson rejects the Jeffersonian individualism that has defined the Founding and American conservatism: “While we are followers of Jefferson, there is one principle of Jefferson’s which no longer can obtain in the practical politics of America. 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.”
So, we had a president who criticized the documents by which the foundation of this country was established and proposed instead a form of monarchy, almost. Not to mention that he thought he knew better than the founding fathers. Where have we seen this type of arrogance displayed before along with the same type of criticism of the Constitution? Here is another example of his arrogance:
Wilson believed God ordained him to be president, and acted accordingly, boasting to one friend in 1913 that “I have been smashing precedents almost daily every since I got here.” Every president since Jefferson had given the State of the Union in writing. Wilson reinstituted what Jefferson derided as the “speech from the Throne,” and ordered Congress assembled to hear him speak, giving rise to the embarrassing spectacle the SOTU has become today.
You can read more about his political philosophy here:
Also, from the above web site:
Wilson emphasized the person of the President, not his office. It is the man himself and his personality that come to embody the national will. “Governments are what the politicians make them,” Wilson wrote, “and it is easier to write of the President than of the presidency.” This is why a President’s expertise in public affairs is not as important as his having a forceful personality and other qualities of popular leadership.
What America needs, Wilson wrote, is “a man who will be and who will seem to the country in some sort an embodiment of the character and purpose it wishes its government to have—a man who understands his own day and the needs of the country.” As an embodiment of the public will, the President can transcend the government and coordinate its activities. This is why it is wrong to limit the President with the traditional checks of the Constitution. The President is “the unifying force in our complex system” and must not be relegated to managing only one branch of it.
While he condemned Germany’s invasion of Belgium in 1914, Wilson himself sent troops to invade Mexico, and He ordered unconstitutional, unilateral military interventions into Haiti, and the Dominican epublic (He also oversaw military interventions in Panama and Cuba, and instituted American-favored dictators throughout Latin America.)
Under Wilson, the US attacked and invaded Mexico because the president of Mexico at the time, President Huerta, refused to salute the American flag (in Mexico) after accidentally arresting some American sailors and apologized and released them.
As mentioned above, Wilson also sent the military to intervene in several Latin American countries as well as the Caribbean.
A year after he got relected for a second term on the platform that he would not involve the US in the European war, the US found itself getting involved with WW1. Wilson manipulated certain events to get us into the war, for example: Germany agreed to call off the sub warfare if Wilson would pressure Britain to stop the hunger blockade (Sussex Pledge). Wilson refused.
It is an often overlooked fact of WW I that Great Britain’s powerful navy blockaded Germany and in so doing starved the German population. And guess who led the British in this distant blockade (which was against international law at the time)? Our dear beloved Winston Churchill, the First Lord of the Admiralty. This blockade drove the Germans to retaliate with submarine warfare (U-boats), and they warned that “neutral ships will be exposed to danger” and it would be “impossible to avoid attacks being made on neutral ships in mistake for those of the enemy.” This was especially true since British abused the rules of war by decorating their warships with neutral flags to lure German submarines to the surface and destroy them.
Wilson all the while claimed neutrality but was actually very pro-British. The British blockade and the German unrestricted submarine warfare both violated the rights of neutral nations under international law. But he refused to acknowledge that the former had led to the latter. German misdeeds against vessels carrying Americans received swift denunciation from Wilson, but the terrible British blockade that starved hundreds of thousands of Germans to death got a slap on the wrist. The Germans even proposed to end their unrestricted sub warfare if the British would end the blockade; the British refused. It was this double standard that would drive Wilson to bring the US into the war.
The cunning Churchill knew of Wilson’s irrational disposition and used it to his advantage: “It is most important to attract neutral shipping to our shores in the hope especially of embroiling the United States with Germany….” Britain aimed to lure America into the war. Indeed, by making it dangerous for the German submarines to surface, Churchill would increase his chances of success: “The submerged U-boat had to rely increasingly on underwater attack and thus ran the greater risk of mistaking neutral for British ships and of drowning neutral crews and thus embroiling Germany with other Great Powers.” By that time, the US was the only great power left that had remained neutral.
The most famous incident was the sinking of the Lusitania. But you will seldom read in school textbooks that the German government actually published warnings in major newspapers not to book passage on the great vessel. But most passengers ignored the warning. The German U-boat only fired one torpedo at the Lusitania and, to the surprise of the German captain Walter Schwieger, that was all it took. The liner went down so quickly that Swieger noted, “I could not have fired a second torpedo into this thing of humanity attempting to save themselves.” A total of 124 Americans died.
What was the American reaction to this tragedy? Hardly any of the newspapers advocated that declaring war was the proper response. Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan certainly had no desire to go to war over it and challenged Wilson’s double standard head on: “Why be shocked by the drowning of a few people, if there is no objection to a starving nation?” It was of no use and Bryan resigned in protest. Senators Wesley Jones of Washington and Robert Follette of Wisconsin urged the President to exercise restraint.
Bryan’s replacement, Robert Lansing, reveals that the Wilson administration was determined to go to war: “In dealing with the British government, there was always in my mind the conviction that we would ultimately become an ally of Great Britain and that it would not do, therefore, to let our controversies reach a point where diplomatic correspondence gave place to action.” American protests against Britain were carefully “submerged in verbiage. It was done with deliberate purpose. It insured the continuance of the controversies and left the questions unsettled, which was necessary in order to leave this country free to act and even act illegally when it entered the war.”
Germany then agreed to call off the sub warfare if Wilson would pressure Britain to stop the hunger blockade (Sussex Pledge). Wilson refused.
Then Wilson did the most irresponsible act that brought us into war: he ordered that merchant ships be armed with US Navy guns and staffed with US Navy crews and that they fire on any surfacing submarines they encountered. Under such circumstances, the ships sailed into the war zone. Wilson sent out ships with the purpose of sacrificing them in order to push America into war! Four of them had been sunk by the time Wilson requested a declaration of war from Congress. It was only after the war that Congress would realize what a dangerous fanatic Wilson was and actually stood up to him be rejecting the Treaty of Versailles, especially Article 10 the League of Nations. This article obligated each League member to preserve the territorial integrity of the other member states. Why should the US sacrifice blood and treasure for obscure border disputes in Europe? Congress was not advocating isolationism as many have asserted but rather defending its own constitutional authority to decide when America goes to war.
John Bassett Moore, a distinguished professor of international law at Columbia University who would serve on the International Court of Justice after the war, argued that “what most decisively contributed to the involvement of the United States in the war was the assertion of a right to protect belligerent ships on which Americans saw fit to travel and the treatment of armed belligerent merchantmen as peaceful vessels. Both assumptions were contrary to reason, and no other neutral advanced them.” Wilson apparently believed that every American, in time of war, had the right to travel aboard armed, belligerent merchant ships carrying munitions of war through a declared submarine zone. No other neutral power had ever proclaimed such a doctrine, let alone gone to war over it!
No American interest was at stake in WW I, and yet a total of 116,516 men died and 204,002 were wounded. In fact, Wilson bragged about fighting a war with no national interests at stake! “There is not a single selfish element, so far as I can see, in the cause we are fighting for,” he declared. It was a war to satisfy his own naive idealism that he could remake the world in his “progressive” ideology. War was an instrument for perverse social engineering that would remake the world: “[A]s head of a nation participating in the war, the president of the United States would have a seat at the peace table, but…if he remained the representative of a neutral country, he could at best only ‘call through a crack in the door.’” The whole war was so that HE could have a seat at a table?! The guy was insane, sick (even Freud, who wrote a whole book on Wilson, thought so).
During the war he also instituted the draft for the war effort.
Wilson created the first official propaganda department in the US.
A week after Congress declared war on Germany, Wilson created a government apparatus whose sole purpose was to lie to the American people, the first modern ministry for propaganda in the West. It was called the Committee on Public Information and was led by journalist George Creel.
Edward Bernays, an adviser to Wilson and participant in CPI operations, characterized the mission of CPI as the “engineering of consent” and “the conscious manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses.”
A typical poster for Liberty Bonds read: “I am Public Opinion. All men fear me!…[I]f you have money to buy and do not buy, I will make this No Man’s Land for you!” Other posters were created to mobilize the public and silence dissent.
A trained group of nearly a hundred thousand men gave four minute speeches to any audience that would listen. They portrayed Wilson as a larger-than-life leader and the Germans as less-than-human Huns, emphasizing fabricated German war crimes and horrors.
CPI released propaganda films entitled The Claws of the Hun, The Prussian Cur, To Hell With The Kaiser, and The Kaiser, the Beast of Berlin.
Also, the phrase, “making the world safe for democracy” came out of the CPI. Does this sound familiar?
Wilson harshly suppressed dissent and resistance among citizens and the press.
At Wilson’s urging, a Sedition Act (not unlike the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798 ) forbade Americans from criticizing their own government in a time of war. Citizens could not “utter, print, write or publish any disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language” about the government or the military. The Postmaster General was given the authority to revoke the mailing privileges of those who disobeyed. About 75 periodicals were were shut down by the government in this way and many others were given warnings.
In the fashion of a police state, the Department of Justice arrested tens of thousands of individuals without just cause. One was not safe even within the walls of one’s own home to criticize the Wilson administration. A letter to federal attorneys and marshals said that citizens had nothing to fear as long as they “Obey the law; keep your mouth shut.” In fact, the Justice Department created the precursor to the Gestapo called the American Protective League. Its job was to spy on fellow citizens and turn in “seditious” persons or draft dodgers. In September of 1918 in NYC, the APL rounded up about 50,000 people. This doesn’t even include the infamous Palmer Raids (named after Wilson’s attorney general) that occurred after the war.
In 1915, in his address to Congress, Wilson declared, “The gravest threats against our national peace and safety have been uttered within our own borders. There are citizens of the United States, I blush to admit, born under other flags…who have poured the poison of disloyalty into the very arteries of our national life; who have sought to bring the authority and good name of our Government into contempt, to destroy our industries wherever they thought it effective for their vindictive purposes….”
All in all it is estimated that about 175,000 Americans were arrested for failing to demonstrate their patriotism in one way or another.
So, I hope this gives you a different perspective on the “beloved” 28th president of the US. To be fair, he did do some good things for the country such as starting air mail service, gave his endorsement of the interstate highway system, and opened the Panama Canal (though there was some controversy with that as well). But overall, I believe Wilson was very destructive to this country and was actually a very weak leader. He was effectively manipulated by his handler Colonel Edwin M. House. This person makes a topic for an article all by itself.
During the debacle known as the Obama presidency, there were parallels drawn between Wilson and Obama. While I tend to seriously doubt Obama is as intelligent as Wilson, I have no doubt that the two shared a distaste for the Constitution and both felt they could do better. So, when the MSM or democrat pundits drew comparisons between Wilson and Obama, it had nothing to do with them being ‘intellectuals’ but it has all to do with turning the presidency into a form of monarchy.
More lies and deceit to project something that isn’t. it never ends.