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Woodrow Wilson as I Know Him   By:

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E text prepared by Anne Soulard, Charles Aldarondo, Tiffany Vergon, Robert Laporte, and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team




To the memory of my dear mother Alicia Tumulty whose spirit of generosity, loyalty, and tolerance I trust will be found in the lines of this book


In preparing this volume I have made use of portions of the following books: "The War The World and Wilson" by George Creel; "What Wilson Did at Paris," by Ray Stannard Baker; "Woodrow Wilson and His Work" by William E. Dodd; "The Panama Canal Tolls Controversy" by Hugh Gordon Miller and Joseph C. Freehoff; "Woodrow Wilson the Man and His Work" by Henry Jones Ford; "The Real Colonel House" by Arthur D. Howden Smith; "The Foreign Policy of Woodrow Wilson" by Edgar E. Robinson and Victor J. West. In addition, I wish to make acknowledgment to the following books for incidental assistance: "My Four Years in Germany" by James W. Gerard; "Woodrow Wilson, An Interpretation" by A. Maurice Low; "A People Awakened" by Charles Reade Bacon; "Woodrow Wilson" by Hester E. Hosford; "What Really Happened at Paris," edited by Edward Mandell House and Charles Seymour, and above all, to the public addresses of Woodrow Wilson. I myself had furnished considerable data for various books on Woodrow Wilson and have felt at liberty to make liberal use of some portions of these sources as guide posts for my own narrative.


Woodrow Wilson prefers not to be written about. His enemies may, and of course will, say what they please, but he would like to have his friends hold their peace. He seems to think and feel that if he himself can keep silent while his foes are talking, his friends should be equally stoical. He made this plain in October, 1920, when he learned that I had slipped away from my office at the White House one night shortly before the election and made a speech about him in a little Maryland town, Bethesda. He did not read the speech, I am sure he has never read it, but the fact that I had made any sort of speech about him, displeased him. That was one of the few times in my long association with him that I found him distinctly cold. He said nothing, but his silence was vocal.

I suspect this book will share the fate of the Bethesda speech, will not be read by Mr. Wilson. If this seems strange to those who do not know him personally, I can only say that "Woodrow Wilson is made that way." He cannot dramatize himself and shrinks from attempts of others to dramatize him. "I will not write about myself," is his invariable retort to friends who urge him to publish his own story of the Paris Peace Conference. He craves the silence from others which he imposes upon himself. He is quite willing to leave the assessment and interpretation of himself to time and posterity. Knowing all this I have not consulted him about this book. Yet I have felt that the book should be written, because I am anxious that his contemporaries should know him as I have known him, not only as an individual but also as the advocate of a set of great ideas and as the leader of great movements. If I can picture him, even imperfectly, as I have found him to be, both in himself and in his relationship to important events, I must believe that the portrait will correct some curious misapprehensions about him.

For instance, there is a prevalent idea, an innocently ignorant opinion in some quarters, an all too sedulously cultivated report in other quarters, that he has been uniformly headstrong, impatient of advice, his mind hermetically closed to counsel from others. This book will expose the error of that opinion; will show how, in his own words, his mind was "open and to let," how he welcomed suggestions and criticism. Indeed I fear that unless the reader ponders carefully what I have written he may glean the opposite idea, that sometimes the President had to be prodded to action, and that I represent myself as the chief prodder... Continue reading book >>

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