Opinions & Views

Errant Idealism

John Milton Cooper, Jr.: The Warrior and the Priest: Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt; Harvard University Press; Boston.

Lloyd Gardner: A Convenant with Power: America and World Order from Wilson to Reagan; Oxford University Press; New York.

There have been many interpreta­tions of Woodrow Wilson done from widely divergent perspectives. Fortu­nately for Wilson's reputation, his most prominent biographers–Arthur S. Link, Ray Stannard Baker, and John Morton Blum–have admired him profoundly. Our 28th President has fared better in this respect than others, such as Richard Nixon. Moreover, Nixon always had stormy relations with journalists and others claiming to represent "the conscience of America" It was this group which long idolized Wilson; perhaps in order to placate his enemies Nixon discovered Wilson as a presidential role model after his election in 1968. Wil­son's admirers before the greening of American academy came typically from the moderate left, which applauded his commitment to economic reform and to fighting "German militarism." As a reformer and democratic Anglophile internationalist, Wilson exerted a kind of influence on FDR which liberal histo­rians have been quick to note. They have failed to note, according to George Nash, that Herbert Hoover, and even John Foster Dulles, venerated Wilson far more than did Roosevelt....

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