Thomas Woodrow Wilson, Twenty-eighth President (1913-1921)

Woodrow Wilson was the 28th President under the Democratic Party, he was president during WWI. Wilson was Liberal in some ways, he signed the nineteenth amendment, granting women's suffrage, he reduced Monopoly power and curtailed Child labor.

Woodrow Wilson was one of the leaders of the Progressive movement. A well respected academic, and former President of Princeton University, Wilson not only served as the President of the United States, but enjoyed influence and popularity abroad. Wilson was able to institute many Market and Labor reforms as well as championing international cooperation. For his work in forming the League of Nations, he was awarded the Nobel Peace prize.

Progressive or reactionary?Edit

Woodrow Wilson, as many other great Liberal leaders of the past, has recently come under attack by conservative revisionists. Wilson was one of the greatest of the progressive era leaders, yet in other ways he was Conservative, for example Jailing political dissidents like Anarchists, Communists, and the leadership of the IWW. Oh, and at one time he was a member of the Klu Klux Klan . [1]

Wilson was progressive. Wilson was also a repressive racist, a Klansman, and an elitist. It may be difficult to reconcile the actions of some historical figures with modern definitions. Were Wilson alive today, and claiming some of the same beliefs he did during his lifetime, he would likely be considered Conservative because of his unenlightened social beliefs. Yet, in his time he was able to achieve some significant progress.

It's unfortunately the case that elected leaders must be acceptable to their people, and that means they must convince the electorate that they hold similar, if more enlightened, beliefs of their fellows. Great leadership, in a democratic society, may be the ability to achieve the gradual enlightenment of people, and use that gradual enlightenment to affect incremental progressive change.

References and external linksEdit

  1. Presidents and others who were members of the KKK

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