CANDIDATE FOR THE PRESIDENCY
BY THE SPRING of 1911 the Governor, through the brilliance of his campaign against Smith and his leadership of the New Jersey legislature, had made himself a popular American hero. On the national scene, in 1910, the Democrats won the House of Representatives for the first time since 1892 and secured the governorships in several states that were normally Republican. But in all the country no effort was more vital than Wilson's. He had done more than anyone, the New York World asserted, "to raise the political, moral, and intellectual level of the campaign"; and Theodore Roosevelt's Outlook acknowledged that Wilson, as the leader of the progressive movement in New Jersey, deserved to be elected. Wilson-for-President clubs had sprung up spontaneously. Encouragement and pledges of support had come in innumerable letters and telegrams from personal friends, educators, journalists, former students at Princeton, idealistic strangers. Colonel Harvey, perceiving the set of the journalistic tide, had written to his candidate late in 1910: "The pebble chucked into the pool has produced, not ripples, but waves."
As in the case of the New Jersey governorship, Wilson was a reluctant candidate for the Presidency. He protested that he was incorrigibly simple in his tastes, that while he would love to have a hand upon the affairs of the world, he shrank from the harness and trappings of high office. Tactically, it was still too early for a "boom"; moreover, a series of diplomatic crises around the Mediterranean had inflated his doubt of his adequacy. Wilson thought he would know better where he stood in the estimation of the people after a few public appearances in various states. Feeling a bit like a race horse, he allowed the National Democratic Club to size him up at Philadelphia and gave them a speech that led Judge Wescott, now fully converted, to write to Tumulty: "I pronounce it greater than the immortal efforts of Demosthenes . . . this personalized force has a great destiny."
In March of 1911, Wilson invaded Georgia to address the Southern Commercial Congress on "The Citizen and the State." Dejectedly,