The one-dimensional Woodrow Wilson shown on the PBS series, "The
Great War," is typical of supposed highbrow entertainments
offered by "public" television: academicist subject matter but
without depth or disagreement, sprinkled (naturally) with blab
from various hired hands of the federal "truth" factories.
(Lest any say, "Ah hah. A white male with too much time on his
hands. Why isn't he watching endless sports? Hey you! Get a
life," note that I only watched the Woodrow Wilson part, not the
entire 8-hour series.)
Funding for "The Great War" came from the National Endowment for
the Humanities, i.e. from the federal government. So, of course,
Woodrow Wilson appeared without blemishes and like all other
noble beings who somehow invariably gravitate to Washington, D.C.
This marvelous circumstance is echoed by another "coincidence":
somehow the "truth" and federal funds for "scholars" always occur
together; rarely does a "scholar" not find lucky federal dollars
along the road as he journeys toward the "truth."
(The modern Rome on the Potomac does another interesting trick:
it takes the money from a continental nation, its various
functionaries rake off and/or steal their percentage, much of the
loot gets distributed as largesse to corporate swine, and finally
it does its big magic trick -- makes it appear as if a beneficent
Washington, D.C. is generously giving money to its citizens.
Many are fooled by this sleight-of-hand prestidigitated by Rome
on the Potomac.)
As my personal protest against the cartoonization of history,
here is information on Woodrow Wilson of a counter-sainthood
John Dos Passos, in his book *Nineteen Nineteen* (usually
included with two other of his books in a volume called *U.S.A.*,
a.k.a. "The U.S.A. Trilogy"), gives his own sketch of Woodrow
Wilson in a section he calls, "Meester Veelson." Here are
When he got his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins he moved to a
professorship at Wesleyan, wrote articles, started a
History of the United States.
...in 1901 the trustees of Princeton offered him the
...and in 1910 the democratic bosses of New Jersey,
hardpressed by muckrakers and reformers, got the bright
idea of offering the nomination for governor to the
stainless college president...
...so he left Princeton only half reformed to be Governor
of New Jersey...
He was introduced to Colonel House, that amateur Merlin of
politics who was spinning his webs at the Hotel Gotham.
And at the convention in Baltimore the next July the upshot
of the puppetshow staged for sweating delegates by Hearst
and House behind the scenes... was that Woodrow Wilson was
nominated for the presidency.
...he left the State of New Jersey half reformed... and
went to the White House our twenty-eighth president.
While Woodrow Wilson drove up Pennsylvania Avenue beside
Taft the great buttertub, who as president had been
genially undoing T.R.'s [Teddy Roosevelt's] reactionary
efforts to put business under the control of the
government, J. Pierpont Morgan sat playing solitaire in his
back office on Wall Street, smoking twenty black cigars a
day, cursing the follies of democracy.
First it was "neutrality in thought and deed," then "too
proud to fight" when the Lusitania sinking and the danger
to the Morgan loans and the stories of the British and
French propagandists set all the financial centers in the
East bawling for war, but the suction of the drumbeat and
the guns was too strong; the best people took their
fashions from Paris and their broad "a's" from London, and
T.R. and the House of Morgan.
Wilson became the state (war is the health of the state),
Washington his Versailles, manned the socialized government
with dollar a year men out of the great corporations and
ran the big parade.
If you objected to making the world safe for cost plus
democracy you went to jail with [Eugene] Debs.
With the help of Almighty God, Right, Truth, Justice,
Freedom, Democracy, the Selfdetermination of Nations, No
indemnities no annexations,
and Cuban sugar and Caucasian manganese and Northwestern
wheat and Dixie cotton, the British blockade, General
Pershing, the taxicabs of Paris and the seventyfive gun
we won the war.
On December 4th, 1918, Woodrow Wilson, the first president
to leave the territory of the United States during his
presidency, sailed for France.
On June 28th the Treaty of Versailles was ready and Wilson
had to go back home to explain to the politicians who'd
been ganging up on him meanwhile in the Senate and House
and to sober public opinion and to his father's God how
he'd let himself be trimmed...
From the day he landed in Hoboken he had his back to the
wall of the White House, trying to save his faith in words,
talking to save his faith in the League of Nations, talking
to save his faith in himself, in his father's God.
He strained every nerve of his body and brain, every agency
of the government he had under his control; (if anybody
disagreed he was a crook or a red; no pardon for Debs).
In Seattle the wobblies whose leaders were in jail, in
Seattle the wobblies whose leaders had been lynched, who'd
been shot down like dogs, in Seattle the wobblies lined
four blocks as Wilson passed, stood silent with their arms
folded staring at the great liberal as he was hurried past
in his car, huddled in his overcoat, haggard with fatigue,
one side of his face twitching. The men in overalls, the
workingstiffs let him pass in silence after all the other
blocks of handclapping and patriotic cheers.
...on the train to Wichita he had a stroke. He gave up the
speaking tour that was to sweep the country for the League
of Nations. After that he was a ruined paralysed man
barely able to speak.
The book, *Lies My Teacher Told Me* by James W. Loewen has a few
tidbits on "Meester Veelson," such as.....
** The Wilson administration hired two Japanese-Mexicans to
try to poison Pancho Villa.
** "Textbooks might begin discussing the influence of
multinational corporations on U.S. foreign policy with the
administration of Woodrow Wilson. Pressure from First
National Bank of New York helped prompt Wilson's
intervention in Haiti. U.S. interests owned more of Mexico
than interests from anywhere else, including Mexico itself,
which helps explain Wilson's repeated invasions of that
country. In Russia, the new communist government
nationalized all petroleum assets; as a consequence,
Standard Oil of New Jersey was 'the major impetus' behind
American opposition to the Bolsheviks."
** "J. Edgar Hoover and the agency that became the FBI got
their start investigating alleged communists during the
Woodrow Wilson administration. Although the last four
years of that administration saw more antiblack race riots
than any other time in our history, Wilson had agents focus
on gathering intelligence on African Americans, not on
white Americans who were violating blacks' civil rights."
** Says Woodrow Wilson: "We want one class of persons to
have a liberal education, and we want another class of
persons, a very much larger class of necessity in every
society, to forgo the privilege of a liberal education and
fit themselves to perform specific difficult manual tasks."
** Under Wilson, the United States intervened in Latin
America more often than at any other time in our history.
** "The filmmaker David W. Griffith quoted Wilson's
two-volume history of the United States, now notorious for
its racist view of Reconstruction, in his infamous
masterpiece "The Clansman," a paean to the Ku Klux Klan for
its role in putting down "black-dominated" Republican state
governments during Reconstruction. Griffith based the
movie on a book by Wilson's former classmate, Thomas Dixon,
whose obsession with race was "unrivaled until *Mein
Kampf*." At a private White House showing, Wilson saw the
movie, now retitled "Birth of a Nation," and returned
Griffith's compliment: 'It is like writing history with
lightning, and my only regret is that it is all so true.'"
** "Wilson displayed little regard for the rights of anyone
whose opinions differed from his own. But textbooks take
pains to insulate him from wrongdoing. 'Congress,' not
Wilson, is credited with having passed the Espionage Act of
June 1917 and the Sedition Act of the following year,
probably the most serious attacks on the civil liberties of
Americans since the short-lived Alien and Sedition Acts of