Why Woodrow Wilson should be your least favorite president

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Why Woodrow Wilson should be your least favorite president

Jake Sims, Woodrow Critic

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Woodrow “I hate freedom” Wilson is one of the worst presidents in american history. He allowed the suppression of freedom of speech and other basic civil liberties necessary to a functioning democracy. The way he conducted the us involvement in WW1 was damaging to the homefront causing prices to skyrocket. He also failed to meet his campaign promise about keeping the united states out of WW1, he was incredibly racist even for the standards of his time, establishing the league of nations and for some reason…. Not joining it, he was also a firm supporter of eugenics and segregation. And his horrible redefining of country boundaries after the war, would effect people for years to come.

 

Let’s first talk about the espionage and sedition acts passed by Woodrow. The espionage and sedition act made it a federal offense to use “disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language” about the Constitution, the government, the American uniform, or the flag. The government prosecuted over 2,100 people under these acts. Political dissenters , socialist in particular really were burnt by the flames produced by these acts. Eugene V. Debs, who urged socialists to resist militarism, went to prison for nearly three years. Another Socialist, Kate Richards O’Hare, served a year in prison for stating that the women of the United States were “nothing more nor less than brood sows, to raise children to get into the army and be made into fertilizer.” In July 1917, labor radicals offered another ready target for attack. In Cochise County, Arizona, armed men, under the direction of a local sheriff, rounded up 1,186 strikers at the Phelps Dodge copper mine. They placed these workers on railroad cattle cars without food or water and left them in the New Mexico desert 180 miles away. The Los Angeles Times editorialized: “The citizens of Cochise County have written a lesson that the whole of America would do well to copy.” The radical labor organization, the International Workers of the World (IWW), never recovered from government attacks during World War I. In September 1917, the Justice Department staged massive raids on IWW officers, arresting 169 of its veteran leaders. The administration’s purpose was, as one attorney put it, “very largely to put the IWW out of business.” Many observers thought the judicial system would protect dissenters, but the courts handed down stiff prison sentences to the radical labor organization’s leaders. Radicals were not the only one to suffer harassment. Robert Goldstein, a motion picture producer, had made a movie about the American Revolution called The Spirit of ’76, before the United States entered the war. When he released the picture after the declaration of war, he was accused of undermining American morale. A judge told him that his depiction of heartless British redcoats caused Americans to question their British allies. He was sentenced to a 10 year prison term and fined $5,000.

His blatant racism was also a very large character flaw of his. Given his high flown rhetoric as a professor about elevating humankind, Wilson especially stood out in his white supremacy. He was not a man of his time but a throwback. In a 1902 book about American history, Wilson exposed his bigotry on the page in a passage about immigrants. He described “men of the lowest class” from Italy and “of the meaner sort” from Hungary and Poland, as “men out of the ranks where there was neither skill nor energy nor any initiative of quick intelligence; and they came in the numbers … sordid and hapless elements of their population, the men whose standards of life and work are such as American workmen had never reamed of hitherto.” As for relations between the races, he was appalled that the French army allowed blacks to serve next to whites, and he worried about Communism creeping into the US among black veterans returning from World War I. He also allowed Jim Crow laws to be put into place in Washington D.C. and allowed the secretary of the treasury and the postmaster general to segregate their departments. In the Wilson Administration, the State Department routinely ignored and dismissed Black citizens’ pleas to speak out against lynching and other forms of discrimination. In fact, the administration was proactive in perpetuating segregation. Wilson and his cabinet actively worked to re-segregate federal offices and limit opportunity for Black Americans. With the dictates of Social Darwinism and the eugenics movement in mind, in 1907, he campaigned in Indiana for the compulsory sterilization of criminals and the mentally retarded; and in 1911, while governor of New Jersey, he proudly signed into law just such a bill.

 

Woodrow in his drawing boundaries for new countries of the former ottoman empire completely screwed over the Kurds. He completely ignored the ethnic group leading to mass persecution against them causing them plenty of suffering. The were persecuted under the Saddam Hussein regime and are currently being discriminated against in Turkey. While the kurds have been one of our best allies in the middle east a lot of the turmoil in the middle east could’ve been avoided if Wilson actually would have acknowledged the existence of all the ethnic groups in the middle east.

 

He also blatantly broke his campaign promises about keeping the united states out of the war. While campaigning for his second term he ran of that exact premise his slogan even was “He kept us out of the war!”  his actions during the war were also dangerous on the homefront, prices rose and many young Americans losing their lives. His actions after the war were sub-par at best. He established the league of nations and did not join it for some reason. And his redefining of boundaries of countries led to much conflict and strife in countries like Syria, Iran, Iraq, Turkey , and what used to be Yugoslavia.

 

All in all Woodrow was not a good guy. He is often praised as the one who was the face of the progressive movement but the opposite is true. His policies were anti freedom and prejudice and did very little to help civil rights. Woodrow is very overrated!

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