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This collection of the public communications of President Wilson to the American people can only be a selection, inasmuch as the space available is not sufficient for more than a third of the full text of the public materials proceeding from Woodrow Wilson. The principles upon which the selection is made should be made clear. Nothing appears in this volume of earlier date than the first inauguration of President Wilson; at the other time extremity, it is brought down as closely as possible to the date of publication. Previous collections have been examined, but have no influence on the choice of pieces: naturally the most significant utterances of the President will find a place in any collection. The foundation for the text is a set of pamphlet editions of the President's public addresses obligingly furnished to the publishers by the President's office, and referred to throughout, wherever used, as White House Pamphlet. Titles are inserted by the editor, since few of the documents were originally printed under subject captions.
Many very characteristic addresses and letters, however, are not included in these printed materials, and have been searched for through the public records of Congress and the periodical and newspaper press. Indications of origin is previous collections have furnished useful clues to som originals. Other pieces have been found through the pri vate collections of the editor. He has had throughout th advantage of the professional skill of David M. Mattesor whose knowledge of the sources of current history has en abled him to run down some important speeches and has greatly aided the editor in the selection and identificaton of the documents. The pieces, long and short, number ninety-two. All omissions are indicated by asterisks (*
The reader will at once notice that this book includes a variety of forms of communication between the President and the People. First come the public expositions of the President's policy, in his first inaugural address, some of his annual messages, and the numerous addresses to Congress which have been a feature of the administration. No President between John Adams and Wilson approached Congress in any other way than through the written messages sent by a subordinate, which were begun by President Thomas Jefferson. The three Presidents who immediately preceded President Wilson had the habit of expressing views intended to affect Congress, through newspaper interviews and official statements given out at the White House. They often succeeded in creating public opinion that reacted upon Congress. President Wilson has accomplished the same end by the more dramatic method of making addresses to Con gress intended for the people at large. These speeches have usually been spread widely through the press; most of them are brief. Each of them enforces one or at most a few suggestions and appeals. In those speeches will be found clear and forceful statements of the President's policy upon such topics as the tariff, trusts, foreign trade, shipbuilding, submarine warfare, conditions of the railroad men, and the declaration of war. Only a part of those addresses can be brought within the limits of a modest volume such as this.
Some very characteristic short pieces in this volume are the letters and telegrams, sent on various occasions, such as the dedication of Cleveland's birthplace, the seventieth birthday of the great scientific man, Edison, and greetings to the French and Russian governments.
The White House is well acquainted with the effect of short, snappy statements circulated through the unofficial methods of the press—such are the political bomb on the tariff lobby in 1913; the announcement on the expedition into Mexico in 1916; an appeal for support for the Red Cross and a call to school officers in 1917; proclamations to the school children and to the drafted men in September, 1917; and the taking over of the railroads.
Another group is made up of letters written to public of every
men, especially Senators and Representatives, making clear the President's attitude on some particular question, and thus endeavoring to affect the minds of Congress. Such are the letter to Senator Culberson on a pending nomination to the Supreme Court, in 1916; to Representative Webb on censorship, in 1917; to Senator Stone on foreign difficulties in 1916.
More than half of this volume is chosen from the numerous public addresses of the President on occasions of all sorts. Like his immediate predecessors, he has taken the ground that a President is the President of the whole people, and ought to set forth his policies in all parts of the country and to groups
kind. Hence such addresses as that on the Union soldier and the Confederate soldier in 1914; to graduating classes of the Naval and Military Academy; before the American Bar Association; at a Y. M. C. A. celebration; to the United States Chamber of Commerce; to the Conference of the Methodist Protestant Church; to the Associated Press meeting; to naturalized citizens; to the Pan-American Scientific Congress; to the Gridiron Club; to the Convention of the American Federation of Labor; to a Woman's Suffrage delegation. These addresses set forth the difficulties of the President, often point the moral of some desirable proposition or action then pending, and always appeal to patriotic sentiment.
Among the most important documents are the despatches to Germany, upon the relation of the United States to the great war. These are usually signed by the Secretary of State; but those reproduced in this volume were well known at the time to proceed from the President's pen. Among them are several despatches on the submarine and Lusitania questions, and the snappy communications of October and November, 1918, on peace.
The year and a half since war broke out with Germany has called out so many striking and powerful expressions from the President that nearly half of the ninety-two numbers have been taken from that period. For several years previous, the President had been reflecting and speaking on the European war, the neutral duties of the United States, and the questions of defense. Upon his mind, as upon the mind of the country at large, the necessity of taking a part in the war grew up gradually, though from the start the conviction was clear that the United States must defend itself if necessary. Throughout 1916 the speeches dwell on the question of preparedness and the general situation of the United States as a world power;
then como numerous war speeches, on world duty and enforcing world peace, throughout 1917 and 1918.
The question of peace is tied up with that of war. It begins to come to the front in the President's mind in a speech of May, 1916; and then takes form in a succession of despatches stating what a proper peace ought to bring to mankind, which have now become the text book of the Allies, and therefore are quoted nearly in full. These are the despatches of December 18, 1916; January 22, 1917; August 27, 1917; January 4, 1918; January 8, 1918; July 4, 1918; October 14, 1918; and November 11, 1918.
This outline does not bring out all the main topics upon which the President has chosen to dwell, but it shows sufficiently the range and spirit of these utterances. Considrations of space have made it necessary to omit parts of nany addresses which were meant especially for the audience that listened to them, or dealt with questions which are not of permanent significance. The more important papers are printed substantially in full. Some of the short pieces are also the full texts; others are extracts from longer discourses. The purpose has been to make the volume representative of the different fields of presidential energy and at the same time to furnish an insight of the President's habits of speech and argument.
Throughout, there is a high standard of dignity, of courtesy when expressing a rebuke; of personal conviction. On the other hand, the President has been a hard hitter against men whom he held to be doing less than their duty. He has the great man's capacity of learning something from his own experiences, and on many public questions, such as neutrality, preparedness, Latin-American questions, world trade, and world peace, the later utterances show a decided advance in tone and intensity over the earlier. President Wilson is sometimes a sermonizer, and occasionally ex