Thursday, April 29, 2010

America's First Woman President

America has our first African American president, the Democrats two front runners were he and Hilary Clinton a woman, but did we already have a woman as president years before? One could make a very strong argument that we had an unelected female president for two years.

It seems that President Obama and his policies and ideology seems to be causing many Americans to look back to another president who had very similar thinking and actions nearly a hundred years before, Woodrow Wilson. Wilson, for the most part had disappeared under the waterline of history for the last few generations of Americans. However, he was very significant in many ways, I am not saying significant in any good way, but significant just the same.

Wilson was the second American president who embraced this new political philosophy of Progressives. This was a political ideology that was sweeping across Europe, as well as through many of the Eastern "elite" in America. It eventually evolved into the Communist Russian Revolution in 1917, and eventually into the Nazi movement in the 1930's Germany. Those Progressives in America had far too many similar thought patterns as did those more famous European radicals. Ideas of Statist over Individuals, Eugenics were very popular with the leaders of all here and there. Wilson followed Teddy Roosevelt, with Taft between them, as the two most Progressive American presidents.

Wilson immediately called for a series of reforms, which he had called the "New Freedom" in his presidential campaign. During his administration the Federal Reserve System was instituted (1913; and the Federal Farm Loan Act, providing for loans to cooperative farm associations, was passed (1916). Wilson continued the policy of curbing monopoly by creating (1914) the Federal Trade Commission to investigate and expose unfair practices of corporations, pushed the passage (1914) of the Clayton Antitrust Act, and instituted antitrust proceedings in 92 cases. The Seventeenth Amendment, providing for the direct popular election of U.S. Senators, the Eighteenth Amendment, which instituted prohibition, and the Nineteenth Amendment, by which women received the vote, were all launched while Wilson was President.

After Wilson entered America into W.W.I, n addition to the establishment of a fighting force, war industries were placed under government control and the President was given wide powers over the production and distribution of food and fuel. Late in Dec., 1917, Wilson put the railroads under government operation. The Committee on Public Information was established to propagandize for the war.

As the war drew to a close and preparations were begun for a peace conference, Wilson was generally looked upon in Europe as the savior of the future. In the United States, however, he suffered an electoral setback in Nov., 1918, after appealing for the return of a Democratic Congress as an endorsement of his foreign policy; the Republicans captured both houses of Congress.

Shortly afterward (December) Wilson set sail for Europe as head of the U.S. delegation to the Paris Peace Conference. Angry at Republican criticism, Wilson did not include any active Republican on the peace commission. Wilson was received in Europe with warm ovations and set about trying to create a new world society, which would have an association of nations to maintain international justice. The resulting Treaty of Versailles where he secured the adoption of the covenant establishing the League of Nations.

In America opposition to the League had been growing, and when Wilson returned (July, 1919) with the signed treaty, his accomplishments at Paris were received with mixed feelings. In the Senate, quarrels over the ratification of the treaty and the proposed amendments broke out immediately. Nevertheless, the Senate would probably have ratified the treaty if certain reservations protecting U.S. sovereignty had been added. Wilson, however, refused to compromise and sought popular support by making a speaking tour of the United States.

He was on his way east from the Pacific coast when fatigue and strain brought on a sudden physical breakdown in September of 1919, and forced him to cancel his trip. In October of 1919, Wilson had a stroke, he suffered major memory loss and could speak only with great difficulty. First Lady Edith Wilson acted quickly to hide his condition from just about everyone. No one but the doctors could get in to see him. Even the vice president and secretary of state were turned away. Mr. Wilson took control.

During the five months the president was incapacitate, his wife screened everything he saw. She would meet with him i private, then come out and issue orders. She penned directives to government officials that began, "The President says..." She even co-wrote an inaugural message that went to Congress in his name. She claimed that she was just carrying out the president's wishes, but the truth is that he was nearly comatose much of the time.

Edith Wilson said she never made a single decision herself. However, others saw it differently. The Nashville Tennessean described her as "the nation's first presidentress." The Boston Globe said her title should be "Acting First Man," the London Daily Mail called her "the acting president of the United States" a verdict that is hard to argue with.

Vice President Thomas Riley Marshall was urged to undertake the duties of president during the crisis, but he refused. "I could throw this country into civil war by seizing the White House, but I won't." Senator Albert Fall of New Mexico said, "We have a petticoat government, Mrs. Wilson is president."

The irony is that First Lady Edith Wilson was a vigorous opponent of the women's suffrage movement. She called suffragettes who were campaigning for the right to vote "detestable" and "disgusting." However, she didn't have any problem with one running the White House as long as it was her.

Reading this do you, as I do, see the many similarities between Wilson and Obama. Both were Progressive ideologues, both wanted to remake America into a more European state, and both seemed to see themselves as president of the world instead of looking out for America first. Both grew government and government powers dramatically, both could be said didn't like Americans. Hopefully, Obama doesn't take the totalitarian steps against the American people as Wilson did, though not mentioned here.

Hopefully, more will be the same, where there was such a backlash against Wilson's policies that the voters took his Democrat controlled House and Senate away and gave back to the Republicans. Americans who had a real taste of Progressivism were so put off that Progressives quit calling themselves Progressives from then until it started to reappear in 2006 after they found that Americans were off put by their Liberal name change as well.

Whenever we forget our history we are doomed to repeat it. We the people forgot Wilson, and now we are dealing with the consequences.

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