The True Story of Woodrow Wilson

By David Lawrence | Go to book overview

THE TRUE STORY OF
WOODROW WILSON

CHAPTER I
THE PERSONAL PARADOX

Woodrow Wilson died as he lived--unexplained and unrevealed. None--not even his intimates--ever knew the mental processes which crystallized his decisions on policy or flung friends of a life-time into the coldness of utter detachment. Those who held office under him lived in fear of his disfavor-- they repressed their criticisms. Those with whom he broke were involuntarily prejudiced against him--they were tempted to exaggerate his defects and minimize his virtues.

Stern and impassive, yet emotional; calm and patient, yet quick-tempered and impulsive; forgetful of those who had served him, yet devoted to many who had rendered but minor service; unforgiving and fierce in his contempt for some who had dared to disagree with him, yet generous with others even to the extent of appointing them to high office; precise and business-like, and yet, upon occasion, illogical without more reason than intuition itself; seclusive, yet a crusader for democracy--thus might his characteristic contradictions be grouped incoherently in a series of paradoxes.

And even these are not all the attributes of the strange personality of Woodrow Wilson. The author knew Woodrow Wilson for eighteen years, stood at close range through the rise and fall of his eventful career, felt the throb of his efforts for a better humanity, watched the inconsistencies of policy develop, perceived the boldness by which almost alone he em-

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