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.
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.