Wilson, Woodrow

Interesting 1898 ALS while Princeton professor, responding to a review of his 2nd book, giving his views on Britain's House of Lords

Price: $750.00

Description:
(1856-1924) Historian, academic, politician, in February 1890, he was elected by the Princeton University board to the Chair of Jurisprudence and Political Economy, promoted by the trustees to president in June 1902, serving to 1910. New Jersey reform Governor 1911-13, US President 1913-21. His “New Freedom” domestic policies led to 3 Constitutional amendments (17th, 18th, & 19th to support direct election of senators, prohibition, and woman suffrage); promoted tariff, antitrust, banking, and child labor law changes. He pursued Pancho Villa in Mexico and maintained US neutrality in WW I until the sinking of the Lusitania. Formulated 14 Points peace plan leading to Armistice to end the War, personally participated in Versailles Conference and forced European acceptance of League of Nations, ultimately not approved by the US Senate. He spent 6 months in Paris at the Peace Conference, making him the 1st president to travel to Europe while in office. Awarded Nobel Peace Prize for 1919. On Oct. 2, 1919, he suffered a serious stroke, insulated by his wife, who selected matters for his attention and delegated others to his cabinet. By Feb. 1920, his true condition was publicly known. No one close to him, including his wife, his physician, or personal assistant, took the responsibility to certify, as required by the Constitution, his "inability to discharge the powers and duties of the said office". Because of this complex case, Congress developed the 25th Amendment to control succession to the presidency in case of illness, which was ratified. ALS, 2pp (2 8 x 5 1/4 sheets), Princeton, New Jersey, October 2 1898, to The editor of "The American", Philadelphia, thanking them for the review of his book, "The State". Professor Wilson was glad to adopt suggestions in their earlier review of his book, recognizing their value and pertinence, but he "...did not go quite all the way with your reviewer because it seems to me that the House of Lords is better in theory than in fact." He amplifies his views on the Upper House of the British Parliament stating: "It is not vital [underscored] as a House. Its best work is done by groups, generally very small groups, of its members; in bulk it acts clumsily and often foolishly; and sometimes the worse elements in its make-up prevail. The new lords, recruited from professional or business life, are seldom active or influential. It is neither so vital nor so systematic as the Commons, -and not being so much heeded, it is languid and not very much interested in itself. It is a dangerous body about which to generalize, -and in a compact text-book I had to stick to generalization." Wilson was notable, as an academic, for arguing the superiority of the parliamentary system. His 1st political work, "Congressional Government" (1885), advocated a parliamentary system, critically describing the US government with frequent negative comparisons to Britain's Parliament. His 2nd publication in 1890 was the textbook "The State: Elements of Historical and Practical Politics", used widely and oft revised in US college courses until the 1920s. He argued that government should not be deemed evil and advocated the use of government to allay social ills and advance society's welfare. In 1899, Wilson wrote in a revised edition of "The State" that governments could legitimately promote the general welfare "by forbidding child labor, by supervising the sanitary conditions of factories, by limiting the employment of women in occupations hurtful to their health, by instituting official tests of the purity or the quality of goods sold, by limiting the hours of labor in certain trades, [and] by a hundred and one limitations of the power of unscrupulous or heartless men to out-do the scrupulous and merciful in trade or industry."

Condition: Very good, fold separations carefully memded and reinforced, small nick at bottom of 2nd page edge
Type:Letter






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