Wilson and the Peacemakers: Combining Woodrow Wilson and the Lost Peace and Woodrow Wilson and the Great Betrayal

By Thomas A. Bailey | Go to book overview

CHAPTER TWENTY

THE GREAT AND SOLEMN
MUDDLEMENT

" Cox will be defeated not by those who dislike him but by those who dislike Wilson and his group." EX-SECRETARY LANE.
September, 1920.


1

FOR THE first two weeks or so after his nomination, Governor Cox seems to have had no strong desire to make the League the paramount issue. The people were tired of hearing about it; it was "old stuff." But on July 18 he and Roosevelt made a pilgrimage to the White House, and they came away fired with new zeal. Publicly, Cox announced that he was in complete accord with Wilson; privately, he told Tumulty that no one could talk with the crippled idealist about the League without becoming "a crusader in its behalf."

Cox and Roosevelt have been blamed for going to the White House and permitting themselves to fall under the Wilsonian spell and the Wilsonian liability. If they had stayed away and soft-pedaled the League, could they not have won on domestic issues alone?

The answer is that the Democrats, after nearly eight years in office, were on the defensive. Negation was not enough. They had to have some positive issue. The only important one available was the League, and it seemed to offer a real prospect of victory.

Such was the general atmosphere when Cox, on August 7, appeared before some 50,000 persons at the Dayton Fair grounds to deliver his speech of acceptance. With his collar rapidly wilting, he stood squarely for the League with such clarifying (not devitalizing) reservations as were necessary. "I

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