Dr. Wilson was a man of standing who loved his
home and his children and good books and his wife and
correct syntax and talked to God every day at family
In 1870 Dr. Wilson was called to the Theological
Seminary at Columbia, South Carolina; Tommy at-
tended Davidson college,
where he developed a good tenor voice;
then he went to Princeton and became a debater
and editor of the Princetonian. His first published ar-
ticle in the Nassau Literary Magazine was an apprecia-
tion of Bismarck.
the name of Woodrow Wilson.
When Mr. Wilson addressed the Trenton conven-
tion that nominated him for governor he confessed his
belief in the common man, (the smalltown bosses and
the wardheelers looked at each other and scratched
their heads); he went on, his voice growing firmer:
that is the man by whose judgment I for one wish
to be guided, so that as the tasks multiply, and as the
days come when all will feel confusion and dismay, we
may lift up our eyes to the hills out of these dark
valleys where the crags of special privilege overshadow
and darken our path, to where the sun gleams through
the great passage in the broken cliffs, the sun of God,
the sun meant to regenerate men,
the sun meant to liberate them from their passion
and despair and lift us to those uplands which are the
promised land of every man who desires liberty and
The smalltown bosses and the wardheelers looked
at each other and scratched their heads; then they
cheered; Wilson fooled the wiseacres and double-
crossed the bosses, was elected by a huge plurality;
so he left Princeton only half reformed to be
Governor of New Jersey,
and became reconciled with Bryan
at the Jackson Day dinner: when Bryan remarked,
"I of course knew that you were not with me in my
position on the currency," Mr. Wilson replied, "All I
can say, Mr. Bryan, is that you are a great big man."
He was introduced to Colonel House,
that amateur Merlin of politics who was spinning
his webs at the Hotel Gotham
and at the convention in Baltimore the next July
the upshot of the puppetshow staged for sweating dele-
gates by Hearst and House behind the scenes, and
Bryan booming in the corridors with a handkerchief
over his wilted collar, was that Woodrow Wilson was
nominated for the presidency.
The bolt of the Progressives in Chicago from Taft
to T.R. made his election sure;
so he left the State of New Jersey halreformed
(pitiless publicity was the slogan of the Shadow
and went to the White House
our twentyeighth president.
While Woodrow Wilson drove up Pennsylvania
Avenue beside Taft the great buttertub, who as presi-
dent had been genially undoing T.R.'s reactionary ef-
forts to put business under the control of the govern-
J. Pierpont Morgan sat playing solitaire in his
back office on Wall Street, smoking twenty black cigars
a day, cursing the follies of democracy.
Wilson flayed the interests and branded privilege
refused to recognize Huerta and sent the militia to the
to assume a policy of watchful waiting. He pub-
lished The New Freedom and delivered his messages
to Congress in person, like a college president address-
ing the faculty and students. At Mobile he said:
I wish to take this occasion to say that the United
States will never again seek one additional foot of terri-
tory by conquest;
and he landed the marines at Vera Cruz.
We are witnessing a renaissance of public spirit, a
reawakening of sober public opinion, a revival of the
power of the people the beginning of an age of thought-
ful reconstruction . . .
but the world had started spinning round Sarajevo.
First it was neutrality in thought and deed, then
too proud to fight when the Lusitania sinking and the
danger to the Morgan loans and the stories of the Brit-
ish and French propagandists set all the financial centers
in the East bawling for war, but the suction of the
drumbeat and the guns was too strong; the best people
took their fashions from Paris and their broad "a's"
from London, and T.R. and the House of Morgan.
Five months after his reelection on the slogan He
kept us out of war, Wilson pushed the Armed Ship
Bill through congress and declared that a state of war
existed between the United States and the Central
Force without stint or limit, force to the utmost.
Wilson became the state (war is the health of the
state), Washington his Versailles, manned the socialized
government with dollar a year men out of the great
corporations and ran the big parade
of men munitions groceries mules and trucks to
France. Five million men stood at attention outside of
their tarpaper barracks every sundown while they
played The Star Spangled Banner.
War brought the, eight hour day, women's votes,
prohibition, compulsory arbitration, high wages, high
rates of interest' cost plus contracts and the luxury of
being a Gold Star Mother.
If you objected to making the world safe for cost
plus democracy you went to jail with Debs.
Almost too soon the show was over, Prince Max
of Baden was pleading for the Fourteen Points, Foch
was occupying the bridgeheads on the Rhine and the
Kaiser out of breath ran for the train down the platform
at Potsdam wearing a silk hat and some say false
With the help of Almighty God, Right, Truth,
Justice, Freedom, Democracy, the Selfdetermination of
Nations, No indemnities no annexations,
and Cuban sugar and Caucasian manganese and
Northwestern wheat and Dixie cotton, the British
blockade, General Pershing, the taxicabs of Paris and
the seventyfive gun
we won the war.
On December 4th, 1918, Woodrow Wilson, the
first president to leave the territory of the United States
during his presidency, sailed for France on board the
the most powerful man in the world.
In Europe they knew what gas smelt like and the
sweet sick stench of bodies buried too shallow and the
grey look of the skin of starved children; they read in
the papers that Meester Veelson was for peace and free-
dom and canned goods and butter and sugar;
he landed at Brest with his staff of experts and
publicists after a rough trip on the George Washington.
La France héroïque was there with the speeches,
the singing schoolchildren, the mayors in their red
sashes. (Did Meester Veelson see the gendarmes at
Brest beating back the demonstration of dockyard
workers who came to meet him with red flags?)
At the station in Paris he stepped from the train
onto a wide red carpet that lead him, between rows of
potted palms, silk hats, legions of honor, decorated
busts of uniforms, irockcoats, rosettes, boutonnières, to
a Rolls Royce. (Did Meester Veelson see the women
in black, the cripples in their little carts, the pale anxious
faces along the streets, did he hear the terrible anguish
of the cheers as they hurried him and his new wife to
the hôtel de Mrat, where in rooms full of brocade,
gilt clocks, Buhl cabinets and ormolu cupids the presi-
dential suite had been prepared?)
While the experts were organizing the procedure
of the peace conference, spreading green baize on the
tables, arranging the protocols,
the Wilsons took a tour to see for themselves: the
day after Christmas they were entertained at Bucking-
ham Palace; at Newyears they called on the pope and
on the microscopic Italian king at the Quirinal. (Did
Meester Veelson know that in the peasants' wargrimed
houses along the Brenta and the Piave they were burn-
ing candles in front of his picture cut out of the illus-
trated papers?) (Did Meester Veelson know that the
people of Europe spelled a challenge to oppression out
of the Fourteen Points as centuries before they had
spelled a challenge to oppression out of the ninetyfive
articles Martin Luther nailed to the churchdoor in
January 18, 1919, in the midst of serried uniforms,248
cocked hats and gold braid, decorations, epaulettes, or-
ders of merit and knighthood, the High Contracting
Parties, the allied and associated powers met in the
Salon de I'Horloge at the quai d'Orsay to dictate the
but the grand assembly of the peace conference
was too public a place to make peace in
so the High Contracting Parties
formed the Council of Ten, went into the Gobelin
Room and, surrounded by Rubens's History of Manie
began to dictate the peace.
But the Council of Ten was too public a place to
make peace in
so they formed the Council of Four.
Orlando went home in a huff
and then there were three:
Three old men shuffling the pack,
dealing out the cards:
the Rhineland, Danzig, the Polish corridor, the
Ruhr, self determination of small nations, the Saar,
League of Nations, mandates, the Mespot, Freedom of
the Seas, Transjordania, Shantung, Fiume and the
Island of Yap:
machine gun fire and arson
starvation, lice, cholera, typhusi
oil was trumps.
Woodrow Wilson believed in his father's God
so he told the parishioners in the little Lowther
Street Congregational church where his grandfather
had preached in Carlisle in Scotland, a day so chilly that
the newspaper men sitting in the old pews all had to
keep their overcoats on.
On April 7th he ordered the George Washington
to be held at Brest with steam up ready to take the
American delegation home;
but he didn't go.
On April 19 sharper Clemenceau. and sharper
Lloyd George got him into their little cosy threecard-
game they called the Council of Four.
On June 28th the Treaty of Versailles was ready
and Wilson had to go back home to explain to the
politicians who'd been ganging up on him meanwhile
in the Senate and House and to sober public opinion
and to his father's God how he'd let himself be trimmed
and how far he'd made the world safe
for democracy and the New Freedom.
From the day he landed in Hoboken he had his
back to the wall of the White House, talking to save
his faith in words, talking to save his faith in the
League of Nations, talking to save his faith in himself,
in his father's God.
He strained every nerve of his body and brain,
every agency of the government he had under his
control; (if anybody disagreed he was a crook or a red;
no pardon for Debs).
In Seattle the wobblies whose leaders were in
jail, in Seattle the wobblies whose leaders had been
lynched, who'd been shot down like dogs, in Seattle
the wobblies lined four blocks as Wilson passed, stood
silent with their arms folded staring at the great liberal
as he was hurried past in his car, huddled in his over-
coat, haggard with fatigue, one side of his face twitch-
ing. The men in overalls, the workingstiffs let him
pass in silence after all the other blocks of handclapping
and patriotic cheers.
In Pueblo, Colorado, he was a grey man hardly
able to stand, one side of his face twitching:
Now that the mists of this great question have
cleared away, I believe that men will see the Truth,
eye for eye and face to face. There is one thing the
American People always rise to and extend their hand
to, that is, the truth of justice and of liberty and of peace.
We have accepted that truth and we are going to be
led by it, and it is going to lead us, and through us the
world, out into pastures of quietness and peace such as
the world never dreamed of before.
That was his last speech;
on the train to Wichita he had a stroke. He gave
up the speaking tour that was to sweep the country for
the League of Nations. After that he was a ruined
paralysed man barely able to speak;
the day he gave up the presidency to Harding the
joint committee of the Senate and House appointed
Henry Cabot Lodge, his lifelong enemy, to make the
formal call at the executive office in the Capitol and
ask the formal question whether the president had any
message for the congress assembled in joint session;
Wilson managed to get to his feet, lifting himself
painfully by the two arms of the chair. "Senator
Lodge, I have no further communication to make,
thank you . . . Good morning," he said.
In 1924 on February 3rd he died.
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