Lecture Notes From Summer Institutes

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I. Woodrow Wilson only true academic who became President of US

• Didn’t read until he was 8 or 9 years old, may have been dyslexic

• Suffered mild stroke at Princeton - right side paralyzed - easily wrote

with his left hand.

A. Why his interest in politics?

1. Studied politics, government, and US History his entire life.

2. Professor of Moral Jurisprudence - Princeton

3. Father - Presbyterian minister, read the Bible

4. Learned a particular type of shorthand at 13 years.

B. Practice of Rhetoric

1. Father's sermons - Wilson very impressed, but father an itinerant

minister and never made much money.

2. Went to law school - didn't finish

3. Went to Princeton

• Editor of student newspaper

• Developed interest in persuading people - studied past orators,

English statesmen, went on the study Oratorical Arts

4. Earned Ph.D. at Johns Hopkins 1880's: Dissertation - US Gov't

compared to British Gov't - preferred British Parliamentary

Democracy (Executive same party as legislative)

5. Passed bar, practiced but saw the seamy side of human nature

6. Turned to teaching: to impact people and society

7. 1890 Professor of Political Science at Princeton -Public issues:

trusts, municipal government

II. 1902 President of Princeton University

A. Gained notice of American people

1. Obligation of moral education of the Nation

2. High profile: Have things to say on important public issues

B. Progressive Movement gaining support

1. 1890's cities to states - reform movement

2. Move to Nation level in 1900

3. RR regulation - Interstate Commerce Act 1887

4. 1901 Theodore Roosevelt became President: Backdrop for

WW's Presidency at Princeton.

C. WW and TR natural allies

1. WW toured country speaking on Progressive issues

2. McKinley attracted votes from Northeast and Midwest cities

3. Democrat William Jennings Bryan - rural Midwest and South

D. Democrats looking for candidate who would also attract Northeastern votes

1. With no political baggage - Wilson fit this profile

2. Impressed with WW 's role in education , especially as President of

Princeton University

E. Progressive Issues

1. Populists: older America - pre-industrial caught between old and

new America. Unorganized group dealing with organized parties.

Lost election of 1806

2. Their ideas adopted by Progressives

• cities, towns

• middle class/professionals

• well educated

3. Progressives read articles/heard lectures by WW

 4. Education united Progressives: Believed in education to provide solutions

to society's problems. If you identify the problem, you could design a


III. Won Election as Governor of New Jersey - 1910

A. On campaign trail connected to ordinary people

B. Polished persuasive public speaking

1. Wrote his own speeches - very rehearsed

C. Began running for President in 1912

D. Republican Ticket split between TR and Taft - WW won.

IV. WW President in 1912 - New Freedom defeated TR's New Nationalism

A. WW knew nothing about foreign affairs in 1912:

"It would be a great irony if foreign affairs played a big part in my

Presidency." He said to a journalist at the time.

B. Tariff issue 1865 - 1912

1. Principle source of government revenue

• tariff

• excise tax

• sale of public lands

2. Regions needed protection for a particular industry - in past

3. Wilson brought tariff down - blow to industrial monopolists

but boon to small businesses. Improved competition.

C. Federal Reserve System

1. Reform financial system of US

D. Income Tax - more revenue

E. Trust Reform

1. Clayton Anti-Trust Act

 2. Federal Trade Commission: Fair trade principles

V. Why Reform Then?

Public outcry - depends upon how many people were affected. All levels of

Society were affected by then.

• For example - stock market dive of 1987, dropped 500 points in one day, but

relatively few Americans were stock market investors.

• Now , 49% of Americans are stockholders. The huge drop in the

Market DOES matter.

VI. Postscript: TR hated WW. After WW asked Americans to elect a Democratic Congress

(and they did not) TR wrote to Britain and France asking them to ignore Wilson

and deal with the next President who would presumably be a Republican

American History Institute

Dr. Michael McGerr, (Indiana)

Associate Dean of School of Arts & Sciences

Gilded Age & Progressive Era

Wednesday, August 10, 1999

Ph D – Yale University
SESSION I: Rise of Industrialism in late 19th Century—Problems of change brought on by industrial life.
The consequences of the rise of industrialism are best evaluated by examining the ways in which each class-rich, working, and middle—coped with the changes brought on by work and wealth. Both rich and poor seemed the most helpless in addressing negative effects upon society—leaving the middle class as the catalyst for change during the Progressive Era.
I. Rich people profited most in terms of wealth—over 25 millionaires—a new phenomenon in American life. J.D. Rockefeller accumulated $1 billion. Bill Gates is just now equaling this in today’s dollars. An event that demonstrates all of this is the story of the

A. Bradley-Martin Ball of 1897.

Cornelia Bradley-Martine and Bradley Bradley-Martin (they added the double name to their last name to sound “British”) had more money than they knew what to do with. Even though the country was still recovering from the disastrous Panic of 1893, they still wanted to hold the grandest ball in American history. Cornelia who was simply a “public accompaniement to her husband” wanted this party to be a public occasion. She was trying to outdo Alva Vanderbilt who had had the grandest part so far in 1883.

  1. Background:

American History Institute

Dr. Michael McGerr, (Indiana)

Populism & Progressivism

Wednesday, August 8, 2001

Ph D – Yale University

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