Editor's Comment

The Wilson Quarterly, Winter 2004 | Go to article overview

Editor's Comment


Of all the modern presidents, Woodrow Wilson left perhaps the most contradictory legacy. Long an inspiration to America's liberal internationalists, he has lately become something of a touchstone for "unilateralist" conservatives who seek to spread democracy around the world. Though he was America's only scholar-president--a former professor and university president--Wilson has often suffered at the hands of his fellow scholars, especially in recent years. In her magnificent account of the Versailles Peace Conference, Paris 1919, for example, historian Margaret MacMillan gives Wilson his due but also depicts him as inflexible, aloof, and frequently ill informed. He is said to combine "vast self-righteousness with huge ambition." Others have faulted him for injecting the combustible notion of national self-determination into global politics without quite understanding the consequences of what he was doing.

In this issue, we are privileged to present an extended essay by the late Kenneth S. …

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