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Woodrow Wilson
Suggested Reading



1912 : Wilson, Roosevelt, Taft and Debs -The Election That Changed the Country
(James Chace)
Four extraordinary men sought the presidency in 1912. Theodore Roosevelt was the charismatic and still wildly popular former president who sought to redirect the Republican Party toward a more nationalistic, less materialistic brand of conservatism and the cause of social justice.

His handpicked successor and close friend, William Howard Taft, was a reluctant politician whose sole ambition was to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court. Amiable and easygoing, Taft was the very opposite of the restless Roosevelt. After Taft failed to carry forward his predecessor's reformist policies, an embittered Roosevelt decided to challenge Taft for the party's nomination. Thwarted by a convention controlled by Taft, Roosevelt abandoned the GOP and ran in the general election as the candidate of a third party of his own creation, the Bull Moose Progressives.

Woodrow Wilson, the former president of Princeton University, astonished everyone by seizing the Democratic nomination from the party bosses who had made him New Jersey's governor. A noted political theorist, he was a relative newcomer to the practice of governing, torn between his fear of radical reform and his belief in limited government.

The fourth candidate, labor leader Eugene V. Debs, had run for president on the Socialist ticket twice before. A fervent warrior in the cause of economic justice for the laboring class, he was a force to be reckoned with in the great debate over how to mitigate the excesses of industrial capitalism that was at the heart of the 1912 election.

Chace recounts all the excitement and pathos of a singular moment in American history: the crucial primaries, the Republicans' bitter nominating convention that forever split the party, Wilson's stunning victory on the forty-sixth ballot at the Democratic convention, Roosevelt's spectacular coast-to-coast whistle-stop electioneering, Taft's stubborn refusal to fight back against his former mentor, Debs's electrifying campaign appearances, and Wilson's "accidental election" by less than a majority of the popular vote.

Had Roosevelt received the Republican nomination, he almost surely would have been elected president once again and the Republicans would likely have become a party of reform. Instead, the GOP passed into the hands of a conservative ascendancy that reached its fullness with Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, and the party remains to this day riven by the struggle between reform and reaction, isolationism and internationalism.

The 1912 presidential contest was the first since the days of Jefferson and Hamilton in which the great question of America's exceptional destiny was debated. 1912 changed America.

To End All Wars: Woodrow Wilson and the Quest for a New World Order
(Thomas J. Knock)
In his widely acclaimed To End All Wars, Thomas Knock provides an intriguing, often provocative narrative of Woodrow Wilson's epic quest for a new world order. The account follows Wilson's thought and diplomacy from his policy toward revolutionary Mexico, through his dramatic call for "Peace without Victory" in World War I, to the Senate's rejection of the League of Nations. Throughout Knock explores the place of internationalism in American politics, sweeping away the old view that isolationism was the cause of Wilson's failure and revealing the role of competing visions of internationalism--conservative and progressive.

Woodrow Wilson 1913 - 1921: The American Presidents Series
(H. W. Brands, Arthur M. Schlesinger)
On the eve of his inauguration as President, Woodrow Wilson commented, 'It would be the irony of fate if my administration had to deal chiefly with foreign affairs.' As America was drawn into the Great War in Europe, Wilson used his scholarship, his principles, and the political savvy of his advisers to overcome his ignorance of world affairs and lead the country out of isolationism. The product of his efforts-his vision of the United States as a nation uniquely suited for moral leadership by virtue of its democratic tradition-is a view of foreign policy that is still in place today. Acclaimed historian and Pulitzer Prize finalist H. W. Brands offers a clear, well-informed, and timely account of Wilson's unusual route to the White House, his campaign against corporate interests, his struggles with rivals at home and allies abroad, and his decline in popularity and health following the rejection by Congress of his League of Nations. Wilson emerges as a fascinating man of great oratorical power, depth of thought, and purity of intention.

Woodrow Wilson: Profiles in Power
(J.A. Thompson)
Prophet and saviour of world peace or nave American idealist? Thompson weighs up the evidence. Topical for better or worse, Woodrow Wilson's vision of America's role in the world continues to be heard today preserving civilization and making the world safe for democracy Looks at Wilson's presidential record at home as well as on world stage most books about him concentrate on his foreign policy. Woodrow Wilson was key player in seeking a peaceful solution to World War One - many of the principles outlined in his Fourteen Points remain with us today, enshrined in the mandate of the United Nations The League of Nations was one of the great political debates in US history might its success have changed the course of world history? Based upon the recently completed publication of the Wilson Papers, Woodrow Wilson presents a portrait that re-examines his political career and argues that he has been misunderstood. J.A. Thompson offers an integrated interpretation of Wilson's academic career as a political scientist and university president, his style as a domestic politician and his conduct of foreign policy - topics that have generally been treated separately and very differently. The author shows that, from an early age, Wilson's chief interest was in the nature of political leadership in a democracy, and describes the great success he enjoyed when he had an opportunity to practice this role himself. Although his ultimate failure to persuade the Senate to accept the League of Nations has left a misleading impression that Wilson was an unrealistic visionary, it took great political skill to lead a largely united country into its first major attempt to shape the world beyond the Western Hemisphere. This is an alternative, more rounded and ultimately more positive portrait of this major President, showing that he was a very able and pragmatic politician. The latest work in the best-selling Profiles in Power series. Professor Thompson teaches history at St Catherine's College, University of Cambridge.

Woodrow Wilson: World Statesman
(Kendrick, A. Clements)
Wilson's visionary temperament and quick-paced leadership made him a uniquely articulate champion of the most essential American values. His policies, perhaps more so than any other president in the twentieth century, have shaped the world today. In this comprehensive biography, Kendrick Clements examines the brilliant successes as well as the failures of Wilson's public career as professor, president of Princeton University, governor of New Jersey, and president. Tempering the impression of Wilson as a stiff moralist, Clements reveals fascinating details of his periodic bouts of depression. But the recurrent themes of this balanced portrait are Wilson's deep idealism and his drive for leadership.

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