Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Thomas Woodrow Wilson

Term: 1913-1921

Political Party: Democrat

Nickname: Schoolmaster in Politics.

Short Bio:
Wilson was basically the professor that you don't really like in college. He was smart, but not very friendly. Wilson entered the presidency and got to work. He lowered tariffs, established a graduated income tax, created the Federal Reserve System, and the Federal Trade Commission. Later, he signed laws banning child labor and limiting workdays to eight hours. In foreign affairs, he promised that the U.S. would expand no longer. In 1914, the First World War begins. Wilson, seeing that the country is not ready to jump in, and not really wanting to fight, keeps the U.S. out of it. Wilson wins reelection due to his decision to stay out of war. However, shortly into his second term, he realized that war could not be ignored.
U.S. ships were being blown up while trying to deliver goods and possibly munitions to the English. The most famous is the Lusitania, which caused many to want to enter the war against Germany. Other boats were sunk, and Wilson was starting to see war looming. He started to build up his air force as soon as the war started, seeing as it was at a pitiful level compared to other countries. It wasn't until Germany sent the infamous Zimmerman Telegram that the U.S. had enough and declared war on Germany. The note basically asked Mexico to join Germany and attack the U.S. from the South. The U.S. intercepted the note and finally convinced Wilson to declare war. Also at this time, you had the beginning of Prohibition and Women's right to vote, brought on by Congress.
The put WWI into a short summary, the Europeans were in a trench war, the U.S. came over, refused to fight the same way, and used the air force to basically win the war. Germany quit and met with France, England and the U.S. in Paris. France and England wanted to punish Germany, while Wilson wanted to the Treaty of Versailles to follow his fourteen points. Wilson wan not persuasive enough, as only parts were accepted. Germany was punished thoroughly and came back with a vengeance later. Remember those consequences I talked about earlier? Perhaps if Wilson were not president, Germany would not have been punished so harshly. Or maybe they would have. Who knows.
While on a tour to promote the treaty and the League of Nations, Wilson suffered a stroke, which left him unable to really be president anymore. For the duration of his presidency, Wilson gave orders from bed. Others believe that his second wife, Edith Wilson, was the secret president, and made many decisions for him. Congress did not accept the Treaty of Versailles, and the U.S. was not allowed to be a part of this League of Nations. Wilson's vision led to the eventual creation of the United Nations however. Wilson was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in world affairs in 1919. He died in 1924.

Grade: C
Wilson is another president hard to peg down. Some give him more credit, and some very little. Did he bring about the end to the first world war? Yes, but he did not secure peace afterwards. Wilson did a lot of good for the country in terms of progressive reforms. On a character level, he wasn't the nicest person. He was also a extreme racist, which came in the form of firing everyone that wasn't white in the government sector *Disputed*. Had Wilson tried harder to give peace to Europe, perhaps we would not of had WWII. Wilson has some supporters today, and some people to who hate his guts, namely Glenn Beck, who makes a point to talk about his hatred for Wilson on a daily basis.

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