Woodrow Wilson: Essential Writings and Speeches of the Scholar-President collects Wilson’s most influential work, from early essays on religion to his famous “Fourteen Points” speech, which introduced the idea of the League of Nations. Among the last of the presidents to write his own speeches, Wilson left behind works which offer impressive insights into his mind and his age.
Deeply religious, Wilson looked to his faith to guide his life and wrote candidly about the connection. A passionate advocate of liberal learning, he broadcast his ideas on educational reform with missionary intensity. In politics he moved from a traditional nineteenth-century conservative view of government to a progressive, international vision which transformed American politics in the new century. His writings allow us to trace the intellectual struggle that took the nation from a position of neutrality in World War I to its role as a central player on the world stage.
Penetrating and eloquent, the works gathered here represent the best and the most important of Wilson’s writings that retain enduring interest. A rich repository of ideas on the American people and America’s purpose in the world, these works reveal the thoughts of one of the most acute analysts and actors in the drama of American politics.
Constitutional Government has its origins in a series of lectures Wilson delivered at Columbia University in 1907. It is carefully organized around three separate but mutually supporting arguments. First, is the idea that constitutional government evolves historically from primitive beginnings of the state toward a universal and ideal form. Second, this idea of historical evolution contains within it an analysis of how and where the Constitution fits into the evolutionary process as a whole. Third, the historical thesis itself provides a prescription for bringing American government, and with it the Constitution, into accord with his first principle of the ideal form of modern government.
In his new introduction, Sidney A. Pearson explores how, with Constitutional Government in the United States, Wilson helped create a new genre of political writing using the point of view of a "literary politician." He discusses Wilson's intention to replace the constitutional argument of the founders with one of his own based on the application of Darwinian metaphor in a political science framework. And he examines the differences between the views launched by Wilson and those set forth by James Madison in The Federalist. This is an essential work for all interested in the evolution of American political thought.
President Woodrow Wilson delivered this address to the 1914 graduates of the US Naval Academy. While he congratulated them, he also said: “Do not suppose that your education is over because you have received your diplomas from the academy. Your education has just begun.” He asked them to consider themselves “sample Americans” to all they would meet as they traveled the world’s seas. He also reminded them how their unique position allowed them to view their nation from an international perspective, an important reminder that rings true for all modern Americans living in a global society.
Woodrow Wilson became the 28th president of the United States when he beat out President Taft and Theodore Roosevelt in the 1912 election. His election completed a shift to Democratic power across the executive and legislative branches. In his inaugural address, he explains his hopes for using this Democratic majority to enact the positive change for which Americans so clearly hungered. He ends with a call to unity, though, saying, “Here muster, not the forces of party, but the forces of humanity.”
President Woodrow Wilson delivered this address on January 22, 1917, a few months before he asked Congress to vote to enter World War I. This speech reveals that he planned for the US to participate in the peace-making agreements long before he planned to take part in the fighting itself. The peace strategy he lays forth in this address mirrors the sentiments of his “14 points” message, delivered a year later at the end of the war. He states that these ideas are not just American ideals, “they are also the principles and policies of forward looking men and women everywhere, of every modern nation, of every enlightened community,” and that for this reason they must triumph.
President Woodrow Wilson entered World War I reluctantly, and he aimed to be strategic and fair when arranging peace terms to leave it.
He delivered his 14-point treaty to Congress in January 1918. In it, he emphasized the importance of establishing free trade, restoring sovereign territories, and reducing arms. This speech outlined the terms on which he sought to establish enduring peace in Europe, which he recognized as vital to maintaining peace in the Americas as well as the rest of the world.
With this 1914 address, President Woodrow Wilson declared his intentions for the US to remain neutral in World War I. “Every man who really loves America will act and speak in the true spirit of neutrality,” he said, “which is the spirit of impartiality and fairness and friendliness to all concerned.” This platform secured Wilson’s re-election in 1916, but it only lasted until 1917. When Germany restarted unrestricted submarine warfare against US vessels, Wilson would retract his sentiment and lead Congress to vote in favor of war.
President Woodrow Wilson won the 1916 re-election largely because he had thus far kept the US out of World War I. Yet when Germany resumed unrestricted submarine warfare against US vessels in 1917, Wilson approached Congress with a change of heart. “The world must be made safe for democracy,” he said as he asked them to vote for a declaration of war. Four days later, both the House and Senate passed their formal agreement with Wilson in overwhelming numbers.
In this rare recording, Woodrow Wilson discusses the progressive platform of workers' rights, minimum wage, and the connection between big business and government.
Thomas Woodrow Wilson, Dec. 28, 1856, to Feb. 3, 1924, was an American politician and academic who served as president of Princeton University from 1902 to 1910, as governor of New Jersey from 1911 to 1913, and as US president from 1913 to 1921.
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