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 NINETEEN

A TALE OF TWO
CONVENTIONS

"What a hell of a condition the land is in politically. Cowardice and hypocrisy are slated to win, and makeshift and the cheapest. politics are to take possession of national affairs." EX-SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR LANE, October 28, 1920.


1

EARLY IN June, 1920, like long lines of ants hastening to a giant anthill, the delegates to the Republican convention began to converge on the windy city of Chicago.

The Old Guard senatorial oligarchy was everywhere in evidence, and firmly in the saddle. Lodge, partly as a reward for his services in blocking a "Wilson treaty," was made both keynoter and permanent chairman. (In the latter capacity he made two highly arbitrary rulings to help the cause of the oligarchy.) Senator Watson was named chairman of the subcommittee which framed the platform; and associated with him were Borah and two other senators. Nine senators were active candidates for the Presidency. Senator ("Boss") Penrose was seriously ill in his Pennsylvania home, but he kept in touch with the proceedings by private wire. The New York Times pointedly referred to the convention as "government of the Senate, by the Senate, and for the Senate."

The "irreconcilables" were there to make the most of their "nuisance value." Borah loudly announced that he would bolt the party if the convention declared for the League in any form. Senator Johnson, the darling of the hyphenates and a leading candidate, took the polyglot city by storm. He was going to see that there was no "pussyfooting" or "sulking" on the League issue. He appeared with Borah before a giant crowd in the Auditorium Theater, and after the strongly pro-German

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