By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

More evidence that Woodrow Wilson was among our very worst presidents

Wilson in 1910

I find it astonishing that Woodrow Wilson’s reputation as a great president has been revisited only in recent years. For most of the century since his presidency, he’s been regarded as some of a visionary reformer and a liberal internationalist, his name adorning institutions and publications.

In fact, he was a vicious racist, a warmonger and an authoritarian who crushed civil liberties. We are still living with the consequences of World War I, and though he didn’t start it, he supercharged it by getting the United States involved (after pledging he wouldn’t) and grossly mishandling the peace talks.

Now there’s a new book about the Wilson years by Adam Hochschild called “American Midnight.” According to Thomas Meaney’s review in The New York Times, Hochschild deals mainly with Wilson’s campaign of repression. Meaney writes:

By some measures — and certainly in many quarters of the American left — the years 1917-21 have a special place in infamy. The United States during that time saw a swell of patriotic frenzy and political repression rarely rivaled in its history. President Woodrow Wilson’s terror campaign against American radicals, dissidents, immigrants and workers makes the McCarthyism of the 1950s look almost subtle by comparison.

I recommend “The Great War,” part of the PBS “American Experience” series. The three-part program debuted in 2018. You should be able to watch it if you’re a PBS Passport member, which gives you access to all kinds of great programming. We watched it a couple of years ago through the PBS app on Apple TV.

Even without trying to, the documentary makes the case that Wilson was, in fact, among our very worst presidents.

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1 Comment

  1. David Foss

    He was the worst President, up until 2008 & now. He created the Federal Reserve, created the income tax, was a racist & pushed this Progressive crap that we are seeing destroy our society today. Everything he did should be looked at, overturned & abolished.
    His family should be happy because now he has some competition for worst President ever. The great divider Barack Obama & the great liar Joe Biden are now trying to see who can make our nation worse.
    The crimes against humanity that have occurred under Obama & Biden will take decades to repair. From BLM/Antifa to the money laundering in You Crane, their legacies will make Wilson look like a hero.
    Our only hope to save our Republic is to get a true leader in office, one who loves this nation & wants to fix all that has been broken. I believe that if Donald Trump can get a 4 year term without the media pushing Democrat lies, without having backstabbing RINOs & with We the People demanding true, good change, he can not only put our Republic back on track but he must also hold all these career criminals accountable. He must put them all behind bars, or worse.
    I believe it is time to clean house in DC. Totally abolish all departments & agencies. Remove all lobbyists, reduce the size & scope of OUR Federal government by 90% & demand term limits for all positions. Including staff & assistants.
    I pray that 2025 will be the start of the nation that we should have & that all the people who have been holding us back, see justice finally.
    God Bless America

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