Woodrow Wilson, the 28th President of the United States, was born on this day in 1856.
So on this 155th Anniversary, and as we enter 2012, there is a lot to say and comment about Woodrow Wilson.
Wilson has been under constant attack by conservatives and Republicans and by conservative talk radio show hosts. George Will of ABC’s This Week and Glenn Beck, formerly of Fox News Channel and still on talk radio, have led the attack, but there are many followers.
The attack is based on the fact that Wilson was a promoter of Progressive reform, including the Federal Reserve Banking system, the Federal Trade Commission, the Clayton Anti Trust Act, and the Underwood Simmons Tariff, which promoted free trade.
Wilson also promoted labor reforms and agricultural credits, so his administration became the most activist, interventionist national government we had yet seen.
This was followed up by the creation of massive government agencies to promote our efforts in World War i. And Wilson also advocated internationalism through the League of Nations, after having formed the first foreign military alliances in American history to fight the war.
Wilson, of course, also had controversial views, including opposition to women’s suffrage, and advocacy of a hard line racial segregation in unison with the Old South. He also advocated restrictions on civil liberties during wartime, and showed no tolerance for dissent, all very disturbing trends that he has rightfully been condemned for by anyone who has belief in basic values of fairness and tolerance.
Wilson was a very complicated person, and is being analyzed more now by all sides of the political spectrum, due to his relevance to present discussions and debates over the role of national government, and American involvement in world affairs after our tragic interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan.
And, of course, we are coming up to the centennial of the Presidential Election of 1912, when Woodrow Wilson won over President William Howard Taft and former President Theodore Roosevelt, in what became a four way race including Socialist Eugene Debs, an election often referred to as the “Triumph of Progressivism”!
So we will be hearing a lot about Woodrow Wilson over the next year!
In 1912, New Mexico and Arizona became the 47th and 48th, respectively, states admitted into the union. And they first voted that same year. And both carried for the Democratic pickup: Woodrow Wilson.
Arizona voted for the winner in each of its first five decades of elections: 1910s through 1950s. New Mexico did likewise but also kept it up, thereafter getting it “wrong” only twice: 1976 and 2000, when, in the case of the latter, it sided with popular-vote winner Al Gore. Beginning in 1960, Arizona tilted itself to the Republicans where five losing candidates managed to hold the state; that included the disastrous 1964 bid of native son Barry Goldwater, and for the man who inherited his “Mr. Conservative’s” Senate seat, and was the 2008 GOP nominee, John McCain.
Here’s hoping a 2012 Arizona joins reliable New Mexico in rejecting the Republican Party to give carriage in aiding Barack Obama to win a second term as the 44th president of the United States!