Quotes about Woodrow Wilson
16 Sourced Quotes
Woodrow Wilson's New Freedom promised our nation a new political and economic framework. Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal promised security and succor to those in need. But the New Frontier of which I speak is not a set of promises—it is a set of challenges. It sums up not what I intend to offer the American people, but what I intend to ask of them. It appeals to their pride, not to their pocketbook—it holds out the promise of more sacrifice instead of more security.
I believe the most important decision taken anywhere by anyone in the 20th century was the decision about where to locate the Princeton Graduate College. President of the University Thomas Woodrow Wilson wanted it down on the campus, integrated with the undergraduate college. His nemesis, Dean Andrew Fleming West, wanted it where it now is, up on a little hill overlooking the Princeton golf course. President Woodrow Wilson had one of his characteristic snits, resigned as president, went into politics and ruined the 20th century.
It is now fifty years since Woodrow Wilson wrote his brilliant essay on public administration.' It is a good essay to reread every so often; there is so much in it that sounds modern, so much that will hold permanently true... Political scientists owe Woodrow Wilson a debt of gratitude for opening their eyes to the broader importance and implications of administration. His keen mind also discerned the task which would occupy the attention of administrative theorists long after he was gone.
Men are excessively ruthless and cruel not as a rule out of malice but from outraged righteousness. How much more is this true of legally constituted states, invested with all this seeming moral authority of parliaments and congresses and courts of justice! The destructive capacity of an individual, however vicious, is small; of the state, however well-intentioned, almost limitless. Expand the state and the destructive capacity necessarily expands too. Collective righteousness is far more ungovernable than any individual pursuit of revenge. That was a point well understood by Woodrow Wilson, who warned: 'Once lead this people into war and they'll forget there ever was such a thing as tolerance.
In 1917 European history, in the old sense, came to an end. World history began. It was the year of Lenin and Woodrow Wilson, both of whom repudiated the traditional standards of political behaviour. Both preached Utopia, Heaven on Earth. It was the moment of birth for our contemporary world.
[The right] may never bring prayer back to schools, but it has rescued all manner of rightwing economic nostrums from history's dustbins. Having rolled back the landmark economic reforms of the sixties (the war on poverty) and those of the thirties (labor law, agricultural price supports, banking regulation), its leaders now turn their guns on the accomplishments of the earliest years of progressivism (Woodrow Wilson's estate tax; Theodore Roosevelt's anti-trust measures). With a little more effort, the backlash may well repeal the entire twentieth century.
To the people of the United States, the death of Woodrow Wilson, President of the United States from March 4, 1913, to March 4, 1921, which occurred at 11:15 o'clock today at his home at Washington, District of Columbia, deprives the country of a most distinguished citizen, and is an event which causes universal and genuine sorrow. To many of us it brings the sense of a profound personal bereavement.
Yet this Charteris speaks from a perished world, he babbles of a civilization as dead as Babylon's... [In 1918, for example,] Woodrow Wilson was filling, accurately, the former station of William McKinley and of James K. Polk; and in many quarters was being taken quite as seriously as had been his predecessors during their own personally directed wars for moral principles so consistently elevated that they have never yet sunk into human comprehension.
When Tardieu asked him why he always gave in to Lloyd George:What do you expect when I'm between two men of whom one [Lloyd George] thinks he is Napoleon and the other [Woodrow Wilson] thinks he is Jesus Christ?
Inside the administration are Vice President Dick Cheney and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz. Their agenda is known as "neoconservatism," though a more accurate term might be "hard Wilsonianism." Advocates of this view embrace Woodrow Wilson's championing of American ideals but reject his reliance on international organizations and treaties to accomplish our objectives.
Our purpose is not—and shall never be-either the quest for power or the desire to punish. We seek to increase the power of the people over all their governments, not to enhance the power of the Federal Government over any of the people. For the life of this Republic, our people have zealously guarded their liberty against abuses of power by their governments. The one weapon they have used is the mightiest weapon in the arsenal of democracy—the vote. This has been enough, for as Woodrow Wilson said, "The instrument of all reform in America is the ballot."
Until George W. Bush, no American president — not even Franklin Roosevelt or Woodrow Wilson — actually risked his presidency on the premise that Jefferson might be right. But this gambler from Texas has bet his place in history on the proposition, as he stated in a speech in March, that decades of American presidents' excusing and accommodating tyranny, in the pursuit of stability in the Middle East inflamed the hatred of the fanatics who piloted the planes into the twin towers on Sept. 11. If democracy plants itself in Iraq and spreads throughout the Middle East, Bush will be remembered as a plain-speaking visionary.
When Arthur Schlesinger Sr. pioneered the 'presidential greatness poll' in 1948, the top five were Lincoln, Washington, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and Jefferson. Only Wilson appears to be seriously fading, probably because his support for the World War I-era Sedition Act now seems outrageous; in this analogy, Woodrow is like the Doors and the Sedition Act is Oliver Stone.