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Twenty-eighth President of the United States
Woodrow Wilson

Thomas Woodrow Wilson (28 December 1856 – 3 February 1924) was an American statesman and academic who served as the 28th President of the United States from 1913 to 1921. A member of the Democratic Party, Wilson served as the President of Princeton University from 1902 to 1910, and as Governor of New Jersey from 1911 to 1913, before winning the 1912 presidential election. As president, he oversaw the passage of progressive legislative policies unparalleled until the New Deal in 1933. He also led the United States during World War I, establishing an activist foreign policy known as "Wilsonianism". He was one of the three key leaders at the 1919 Paris Peace Conference, where he championed a new League of Nations, but he was unable to win Senate approval for U.S. participation in the League.


28 Dec 1856, Thomas Woodrow Wilson, in Staunton, Virginia


3 Feb 1924, in Washington, D.C.


Albert Jay Nock: A Gifted Pen for Radical Individualism, by Jim Powell, The Freeman, Mar 1997
Biographical essay, including Nock's early life, editorship of The Freeman (1920-1924), and notable books and essays
"Progressive" President Woodrow Wilson maneuvered America into a European war, jailed dissidents, and pushed through the income tax which persists to this day ... In 1914, ... Nock joined the staff of The Nation, which was owned and edited by Oswald Garrison Villard, grandson of antislavery crusader William Lloyd Garrison. Nock came to admire Villard, who courageously opposed President Woodrow Wilson's scheming to get America into the First World War. One of Nock's articles, on labor union agitator Samuel Gompers, provoked Wilson's censors to suppress The Nation.
America as Utopia, by Robert Nisbet, Reason, Mar 1987
Historical survey of the "American Religion" (America as "the city upon a hill") from the Pilgrims to the present and questions whether it will progress further in the near future
It was Woodrow Wilson who saturated American policy toward the world with piety and moralism that virtually took the world by storm. From childhood he knew the clutch of Calvinist moral fervor. ... having been reelected in 1916 precisely because 'he kept us out of war,' he had yet another divine afflatus, this one being the moral duty of America to enter the war, join in victory, and then from such a lofty vantage point show the world of nations how to avoid war in the future and to plant properly the seeds of democracy.
The American Heritage of "Isolationism", by Gregory Bresiger, Freedom Daily, May 2006
Criticizes the use of the word "isolationist" by the media, "internationalists" and other foreign intervention promoters, looking at the heritage of noninterventionism as exemplified by Washington's Farewell Address
[Americans] have often voted for presidential candidates they thought would keep the nation at peace but instead led the nation into wars and more wars ... Woodrow Wilson won reelection in 1916 on a platform that bragged that he had kept the United States out of war and kept the nation prosperous. Five months after the election, the nation was in World War I. By the end of Wilson's second term, the nation was in the midst of a depression.
America's Most Persecuted Minority, by Murray N. Rothbard, The Rothbard-Rockwell Report, Aug 1994
Tells the history of post-millennial evangelical pietists (PMEP) or neo-Puritans and their crusades to ban pleasures such as liquor and smoking
It took archetypical neo-Puritan Woodrow Wilson not only to bring Prohibition to America, and thereby fulfill the PMEP's most cherished dreams, but also to take PMEP crusading on to a world scale. For after the Kingdom was established in America, the next holy step was to bring about a worldwide Kingdom.
Background of the Middle East Conflict, Part 2, by Wendy McElroy, Freedom Daily, Nov 2003
Continues the historical account of the Middle East from the territorial deals during World War I to the Palestine riots of 1929
Thus the Middle East settled into a rivalry between the Arabs and the Zionists, the British and the French, with both of the latter determined to share in Middle Eastern oil. The American president, Woodrow Wilson, soon threw up a barrier to their plans. After World War I, he promoted his famous 'Fourteen Points.' They expressed the democratic principles for which Wilson believed the United States had been fighting, including the principle of sovereignty. The Arabs were encouraged; other Entente powers were annoyed. The Americans established the King-Crane Commission to analyze disputes in the Middle East.
Beginning of the end of America: Olbermann addresses the Military Commissions Act in a special comment, by Keith Olbermann, 18 Oct 2006
Transcript and video of the Countdown with Keith Olbermann show segment criticizing Bush's signing of the Military Commissions Act
We have been here when President Woodrow Wilson insisted that the Espionage Act was necessary to save American lives, only to watch him use that Act to prosecute 2,000 Americans, especially those he disparaged as 'Hyphenated Americans,' most of whom were guilty only of advocating peace in a time of war. American public speakers, in American jails, for things they said about America. ... Many of the very people Wilson silenced survived him, and one of them even ran to succeed him, and got 900,000 votes, though his presidential campaign was conducted entirely from his jail cell.
The Colonial Venture of Ireland, Part 3, by Wendy McElroy, Freedom Daily, Jul 2004
Historical account of Ireland from 1912 to 1921, including the formation of the Irish Assembly, the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and the 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty that concluded the Irish War of Independence
In the Irish general election of 1918 (which was part of the United Kingdom’s general election), Sinn Féin won 73 of 105 seats; 36 of the elected were in jail at the time. This was a defining moment ... America had been assured that the Sinn Féiners were a small group of radicals. Now, with a popular Sinn Féin victory, Irish-Americans deluged Democratic President Wilson with demands for justice in Ireland. But Wilson was negotiating a postwar settlement with the British and did not wish to complicate the delicate bartering. The Democrats lost most of their Irish-American support.
Related Topics: Ireland, Terrorism, World War I
Democracy Versus Liberty, by James Bovard, The Freeman, Aug 2006
Discusses the dangers of equating liberty with "self-government" as majority rule
President Woodrow Wilson pioneered the democracy-as-salvation bosh. Yet his administration had the worst civil rights record since the Civil War—imposing Jim Crow restrictions on federal employees that resulted in the mass firing of black civil servants. After taking the nation into World War I, Wilson rammed a Sedition Act through Congress that empowered the feds to imprison anyone who muttered a kind word for the Kaiser. Wilson pushed conscription through Congress—as if his goal of having "a seat at the table" at the postwar peace conferences entitled him to dispose of a hundred thousand American lives.
Emergencies: The Breeding Ground of Tyranny, by William L. Anderson, Freedom Daily, Nov 2006
Examines the long history of "emergency powers" claimed by U.S. Presidents, including recent examples such as sanctions stemming from the International Economic Powers Act and the so-called War on Terror
[U.S.] entry into World War I in 1917 resulted in Woodrow Wilson's grabbing powers that had been dormant since the Lincoln era. Not only did Wilson engineer the Espionage and Sedition Acts, which led to the arrest of some 1,500 outspoken war opponents, he also used "emergency" powers to seize the railroads and to generally place the U.S. economy under a semi-dictatorship. Furthermore, Congress in 1917 passed the Trading with the Enemy Act, which gave the president powers to restrict or forbid trade with individuals from countries whose governments were "hostile to the United States."
H. L. Mencken, America's Wittiest Defender of Liberty, by Jim Powell, The Freeman, Sep 1995
Biographical essay, highlighting Mencken's tenure at the Baltimore Sun, the books he authored, the founding and his work at the American Mercury monthly and his brief relationship with Sara Haardt
[H. L. Mencken] boldly denounced President Woodrow Wilson for whipping up patriotic fervor to enter World War I, which cost his job as a newspaper columnist ... Mencken lashed out at President Woodrow Wilson for maneuvering America into World War I. He insisted that the British government shared responsibility for the horrifying conflict, and he attacked the moral pretensions of British officials who pursued a naval blockade punishing innocent people as well as combatants in Germany. Mencken discontinued his column because of wartime hysteria.
Killing in the Name of Democracy, by James Bovard, Attention Deficit Democracy, 27 Jan 2006
Excerpt from the chapter 4 "Messianic Democracy" of Bovard's Attention Deficit Democracy (2006), details various U.S. presidents' policies and actions from McKinley to Eisenhower
President Woodrow Wilson raised tub-thumping for democracy to new levels. As soon as Wilson took office, he began saber-rattling against the Mexican government, outraged that ... President Victoriano Huerta had come to power via military force ... Wilson summarized his Mexican policy: "I am going to teach the South American republics to elect good men!" After Wilson took the nation into World War I ... [he] increasingly demonized all those who did not support the war and his crusade to shape the postwar world ... The deaths of more than 100,000 Americans in World War I did nothing to bring Wilson's idealistic visions to Earth.
Liberty in America during the Great War, by Sheldon Richman, The Goal Is Freedom, 15 Aug 2014
Examines how various areas of American society were influenced by Woodrow Wilson's decision to enter the First World War, including Supreme Court cases decided after the war
[It] will be a few years before ... the centenary of Woodrow Wilson's idiotic decision in 1917 to plunge the country into the Great War ... Wilson ... was reelected president in 1916 after a campaign that reminded voters, "He kept us out of war." ... By executive order, Wilson created the innocuously named Committee on Public Information, a propaganda mill headed by Progressive muckraking journalist George Creel ... Wilson, [David M.] Kennedy writes, meekly and privately objected to the heavy-handedness of his underlings on occasion but never did anything about it .... after the war, ... he advocated a new sedition act ...
The Middle East Harvests Bitter Imperialist Fruit, by Sheldon Richman, The Goal Is Freedom, 20 Jun 2014
Describes how the seeds of the current turmoil in the Middle East were planted a century ago by British and French imperialists
Obviously the [Sykes-Picot] agreement had to be kept secret ... the Allied powers hoped that President Woodrow Wilson would bring the United States into the war — and Wilson said he opposed territorial gains by the belligerents ... Wilson is known for insisting on the principle of self-determination ... [but] the interests of subjugated people are to receive only "equal" consideration with the claims of government ... hardly sounds like self-determination ... Wilson, who took sick when the Paris Peace Conference convened, was unable to stop the British and French from carrying out their imperial plans.
No More "Great Presidents", by Robert Higgs, The Free Market, Mar 1997
Discusses the results of a 1996 poll of historians asking them to rank U.S. presidents, focusing on those ranked Great, Near Great and Failure, and offers his own ranking
Wilson, on his own initiative and against the preference of a clear majority of the American people, propelled the country into a grotesquely senseless, shockingly barbarous clash of European dynasties in which the United States had no substantial national interest ... Harding's Teapot Dome affair is but a drop in the ocean compared to the global horrors set in train by Wilson's decision to take the United States into World War I: Allied victory, a harsh Versailles treaty, German resentment, the rise of Nazism, and World War II, not to speak of the rise of Communism ...
One Hundred Years of the Federal Reserve, by Sheldon Richman, Future of Freedom, Dec 2013
Examines the Federal Reserve's record since its inception, quoting the 2010 Cato Institute paper "Has the Fed Been a Failure?" by Selgin, Lastrapes and White, as well as Rothbard, Timberlake and Hummel
Two days before Christmas 1913, President Woodrow Wilson signed the Federal Reserve Act, creating America’s latest and current central bank, the Federal Reserve System ... [T]he bankers had to ally with Progressive intellectuals to persuade the American people that an overarching central-banking system would serve the general welfare. One newspaper announced Wilson's signing of the Federal Reserve Act with this revealing sub-headline: "Wilson Declares It the First of Series of Constructive Acts to Aid Business."
The Progressive Era, Part 1: The Myth and the Reality, by William L. Anderson, Freedom Daily, Feb 2006
Examines various aspects of Progressivism's "much darker tale", tracing its roots to 19th century Unitarians and pointing out Progressive support of prohibition and segregation
Woodrow Wilson brought segregationist policies to the federal government. Many states and localities already had implemented those laws in their respective areas but with Wilson's presidency, which began in 1913, the federal government became a leading force in discriminating against blacks in federal hiring practices ... While some have tried to claim that Wilson's racism was due to his Southern upbringing, he simply was acting as a leading Progressive. Progressives reasoned that blacks were not as far "evolved" as whites and, thus, should not be given the same rights and responsibilities.
States' Rights vs. Monetary Monopoly, by Thomas DiLorenzo, 9 May 2003
Recounts the story of how various states and Andrew Jackson maneuvered against the second Bank of the United States (BUS) eventually causing it not to be re-chartered
The imperious Woodrow Wilson would celebrate this fact in his 1908 book ... where he wrote ... that 'the War between the States established ... this principle, that the federal government is, through its courts, the final judge of its own powers.' ... a century earlier, the ... scholar St. George Tucker cited this phenomenon as the very definition of tyranny. If the federal government ever became the final judge of the limits of its own powers, Tucker warned, then constitutional liberty would become an empty phrase. The federal government would inevitably conclude that there are, in fact, no limits to its power.
Related Topics: Andrew Jackson, Ohio, United States
Stay Out of Haiti, by Sheldon Richman, 5 Mar 2004
Comments on the U.S. intervention in Haiti after the Feb 2004 coup d'état, recalling past meddling in the early 20th century and the 1990s
[The] history of U.S. intervention in Haiti ... began with a 19-year stint of outrageous meddling in 1915 at the behest of economic interests ... "Not enough was done to help Haitians build democratic institutions," the Post editorialized. Thus the Wilsonian conceit lives. President Woodrow Wilson operated on the fallacy that "enlightened" force could impose democracy, at bayonet point, on people whose history contained no preparation ... As a result, democracy has often resulted in the election of despots, such as Aristide. (The first U.S. intervention in Haiti was, unsurprisingly, under Wilson's direction.)
Related Topics: George W. Bush, Haiti
Warring as Lying Throughout American History, by James Bovard, Freedom Daily, Feb 2008
Recounts how U.S. Presidents and their administrations since James Polk have been deceitful about wars and military engagements
In 1917, Woodrow Wilson took the nation to war in a speech ... that contained one howler after another. He proclaimed that "self-governed nations do not fill their neighbor states with spies"—despite the role of the British secret service ... in the United States. Wilson hailed Russia as a nation that had always been "democratic at heart"—less than a month after the fall of the tsar ... He proclaimed that the government would show its friendship and affection for German-Americans at home—but his administration was soon spearheading loyalty drives that spread terror in many communities ...
Wilson in the Mirror, by John M. Peters, 23 May 2006
Compares George W. Bush to Woodrow Wilson, drawing multiple parallels between the two
It was early in the new century, and an American President with fundamentalist Christian values declared war upon a foreign ideology. He took the nation to war to fulfill America's mission to make the world safe for democracy, and to free oppressed peoples in developing nations. That was President Woodrow Wilson. Wilson's personal belief system would plunge an unwilling nation into World War I with the loss of untold lives ... Wilson argued that entry into the war was an unfulfilled mission of the Founding Fathers, that it was imperative for America not to hoard its freedom and liberty ...


Claiming Paine: The contested legacy of the most controversial founding father, by Katherine Mangu-Ward, Reason, Jul 2007
Review of the book Thomas Paine and the Promise of America (2006) by Harvey J. Kaye
Kaye makes it his business to find "Paine's ideas" at every American crossroads. He sees Paine in the speeches of presidents, declaring that Woodrow Wilson’s "Fourteen Points—calling for open treaties, freedom of navigation, free trade, arms reduction, the end of European empires, the self-determination of peoples, and an international association of nations to replace the traditional balance of power with a system of collective security—revived ideas Paine first advanced in Rights of Man."
An Empire Built of Paper, by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr., The American Conservative, 27 Mar 2006
Review of Empire of Debt: The Rise of an Epic Financial Crisis (2006) by William Bonner and Addison Wiggin
"Remember," Wilson had proclaimed, "that God ordained that I should be the next president of the United States." How many Americans know that Wilson invaded Mexico before Europe, raising the federal war banner over Veracruz, and set off a reign of terror at home in which Germans, or those thought to be German, were lynched and those who dissented from his national socialism were jailed? Wilson also established the Federal Reserve, the income-tax police, and the direct election of senators. The latter wiped out an original buttress to states' rights and led to more and more centralization ...
Wartime Attacks on Civil Liberties, by George Leef, Freedom Daily, Dec 2005
Review of Perilous Times: Free Speech in Wartime: From the Sedition Act of 1798 to the War on Terrorism (2004) by University of Chicago Law School professor Geoffrey R. Stone
While Abraham Lincoln took a rather benign view of dissent, the dour Woodrow Wilson would not abide it. In his speech calling for a declaration of war in 1917, he said, "If there should be disloyalty, it will be dealt with, with a firm hand of stern repression." Indeed, it was ... He laid the foundation for repression even before the onset of his war. He inflamed the public with his attack on critics as "disloyal." He allowed his subordinates to support private groups that cracked down on war opponents. His administration marked a low point for respect for free speech and civil liberties.


Wilson's War: How Woodrow Wilson's Great Blunder Led to Hitler, Lenin, Stalin, and World War II
    by Jim Powell, 29 Mar 2005
Partial contents: Arrogance and Power - Why Did Wilson Decide He Must Break the Stalemate? - How Did Hitler Exploit Wilson's Blunder to Recruit 50,000 Nazis? - How Did Lenin Take Advantage of Wilson's Blunder and Secure Power?


Wilson's War, by John V. Denson, The Lew Rockwell Show, 25 Aug 2008
Lew talks with Denson about World War I and how Woodrow Wilson managed to have the other side "fire the first shot"

The introductory paragraph uses material from the Wikipedia article "Woodrow Wilson" as of 29 May 2018, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.