Skip to comments.The unhappiness of Woodrow Wilson
Posted on 04/27/2011 12:56:20 PM PDT by george76
Did the president lament the day he "unwittingly ruined" his country by creating the Federal Reserve?
" I am a most unhappy man. I have unwittingly ruined my country. A great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is concentrated. The growth of the nation, therefore, and all our activities are in the hands of a few men. We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated Governments in the civilized world -- no longer a Government by free opinion, no longer a Government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a Government by the opinion and duress of a small group of dominant men. "
Via e-mail, John M. Cooper, a professor of history at the University of Wisconsin, and the author of several books on Woodrow Wilson, writes:
"I can tell you categorically that this is not a statement of regret for having created the Federal Reserve. Wilson never had any regrets for having done that. It was an accomplishment in which he took great pride."
(Excerpt) Read more at salon.com ...
Wilson knew what he was doing, and was quite happy. He was by all accounts a reprehensible man, a racist filled with dreams of domination by elites. He is the father of all the bad things that Conservatives hate. If he wasn’t at the birth of it, he fed and clothed it.
History will judge Woodrow Wilson in a most cruel manner.
Well, one day, a hero will come along and undo it. It will be painful and ugly, but it will be the right thing to do.
Of course. He was a “progressive movement” leader.
If Wilson hated it, that would be the best extant argument in favor of the Fed.
It’s very simple.
The actual statements from Wilson, reflected his distrust of “a few men” if the “great wealth” that they had and that they could personally direct was in “private” hands.
He was apparently, as history shows, unopposed to circumstances, even “the wealth of the nation”, in the hands of “a few men”, if those men were government dictators appointed to serve and once appointed accountable to no one.
When fiat money did not reign, private bankers could not use a central bank’s cheap money to inflate their own ability to lend. When fiat money did not reign, private bankers took fewer stupid risks, because of the greater chance that they were risking the banks and their own capital.
What Wilson hated was that someone besides him had more to say about where “the nation’s wealth” (individual’s private wealth stored in private banks) ought be spent; someone besides him had more influence in the economy. He changed that - sort of - when he signed the law that established the Federal Reserve.
Read the wiki article on the crisis that started the political panic that led to creation of the Federal Reserve.
You will notice types of unregulated activity in STOCK MARKET types of operations that (a)were shady, (b)needed some regulation and (c) could have been regulated without creating the Federal Reserve.
You will also notice that the “panic” over the situation was resolved by private banking activity, largely by the bank of J.P, Morgan, without any laws needed for that action and without, and before any Federal Reserve legislation.
Recall also, with the easy credit stimulated BY THE NEW FEDERAL RESERVE, the “roaring twenties” followed and instead of a minor and resolvable panic, or mere recession, the nation went into a depression.
Obviously, the cure for economic bubbles and their fall was not a cure; but the legislation did resolve Wilson’s complaint: that “private” hands had too much say in the economy.
All of Obama’s legislation has had the same affect. None of the targets are the targets the public sees. All of the targets are “the private hands” with too much say in some part of the economy - government can do better.
Wilson knew exactly what he was doing when he started the progressive ball rolling toward the destruction of the country.
Wilson (and his wife who took over after his stroke) was the first truly odious President.
Charles Evans Hughes, maybe the best President we never had.
Wilson carried California by just 0.38% in 1916; had Hughes carried it, he would have been elected president. Hughes needed just 3,774 more votes in California to prevent Wilson from winning reelection.
Of course, had President Taft and former President Theodore Roosevelt been able to agree on which of the two should run in 1912, Wilson would have never become president in the first place.
“When fiat money did not reign, private bankers could not use a central banks cheap money to inflate their own ability to lend.”
Hardly true. Banks didn’t need a central bank in order to inflate their ability to lend. The free banking era from the 1820s to the 1860s, the era of wildcat banking, was characterized by excessive lending and depreciating money.
“You will also notice that the panic over the situation was resolved by private banking activity, largely by the bank of J.P, Morgan, without any laws needed for that action and without, and before any Federal Reserve legislation.”
JP Morgan was the driving force behind the creation of the Fed, citing his experience during the panic of 1907.
I still think had TR not run in 1912, Taft still might very well have lost (not by much, however). I base that on the fact that the Republicans lost the House in the 1910 midterms and were effectively split in the Senate (which led to the infamous turnover of Presidents Pro Tempore). I think a lot of the Roosevelt Progressives would’ve voted for Wilson in protest.
My Grandfather hated TR, The Bride at every Wedding and the corpse at every funeral, hated FDR even more.
I heard a story on the history channel once about a ballot box in Cali that showed up at the last minute.
Right, and do you recall Richard M. Nixon going out of his way to hail Wilson?
Not yet, professional historians nearly always rank him at least eighth, but they have to give a high rank to JFK for celebrity reasons.
No doubt about it. Taft was the precursor of Hoover twenty years earlier.
Not at all, Hughes was called Charles “Evasive” Hughes in 1916 because he feared taking decisive positions. As a Supreme Court justice and later chief justice, he favored the all powerful Supreme Court. He once joked that the “Constitution means what the judges say it means.” by the way, wasn’t he also a NY governor?
Wilson could have defeated either Taft or TR outright in my opinion because he talked of a “New Freedom” that thrilled the uninformed. I can see similarity between Wilson and Clinton 80 years later.
Not quite. Taft was a Conservative, Hoover was a liberal. Had Hoover carried on in the tradition of his two predecessors, we’d never have had a prolonged Depression. Harding, so long maligned by historians, resolved the economic downturn at the end of Wilson’s reign in record time. My opinion of him radically changed when I learned just how successful his economic policies were... because they were so common-sense. Remember that the Democrats tried to get Hoover to run for President under THEIR label in 1920... he was preferred by both Wilson AND FDR ! It was only due to his reading the political tea leaves for that year and a lame excuse about not officially registering as one why he didn’t. If anything, Hoover was more like Ike, who also was a disaster as a Republican President.
If TR had been the nominee in 1912, I postulate Wilson would’ve been defeated by an achingly close margin. How so ? Look at the California returns. Taft was not on the ballot in the general election in the state because TR secured BOTH the Progressive & Republican lines. So the race was a good indicator of what such a showdown would’ve looked like between TR and Wilson with the Socialist Eugene V. Debs performing respectably. As it was, TR won the state by nearly a tie vote, less than 200 votes, each getting 41.8%. Debs took 12% and the Prohibitionist took 3.5%.
No, he WAS an out an out racist, but thanks to progressives they cleaned up his image better than Johnson, FDR and even Senator "Sheets" Byrd.
They even had black folks fooled to no end. Wilson single-handed got most of the black civil servants fired...
NO, I am not THAT old....lol
One big difference between Wilson and Clinton is that had Perot not run Clinton likely would have defeated President Bush by a 283-255 Electoral College majority (although Bush would have a chance of also winning CT and IA and getting to 270), while the 1912 results show that Wilson would not have gotten over 231 EVs (with 266 needed for victory) had he run either against Taft or TR.
“JP Morgan was the driving force behind the creation of the Fed, citing his experience during the panic of 1907.”
Yes - the merge of the interests of the major banks with the interests of the politicians that want to borrow money, and borrow more and back stop the banks using the taxpayers money.
“Yes - the merge of the interests of the major banks with the interests of the politicians that want to borrow money, and borrow more and back stop the banks using the taxpayers money.”
Well that’s nice but you are confusing the role of Congress and the Executive with that of the Fed. The Fed can’t increase the national debt by even one cent.
Politicians have been borrowing money since the days of the Continental Congress, which by my estimation predates the Fed by 130 years. They don’t need the Fed in order to borrow money. The Fed is simply irrelevant to the national debt. And it has no power to force taxpayers to do anything.
Nor can the Fed make taxpayers backstop the banks. There are two laws that I know of that have taxpayers backstopping banks, the FDIC and TARP. In both cases those are laws signed into effect by Presidents.
I’ve played around with 1912 on Dave Leip’s atlas.
If Wilson had gotten all of Debs vote it I think it would have been hella close. But with Debs in their I think either Taft or TR would have taken it.
The pro-Wilson swings in 1916 are perplexing, many Hughes states were close. I guess he got many of those TR voters.
Yeah he was Governor when he was appointed to the court the first time.
Best President we never had is short list if you limit it to failed major nominees.
I’ve always wonder what Henry Clay would have been like.
“He kept us out of war.”
Silly reason to vote for him. Especially since he was lying. ;d
No sillier than the reasons why Republicans voted for Obama in 2008. Sometimes voters get silly.
“Wilson (and his wife who took over after his stroke) was the first truly odious President.”
I don’t know. John Adams didn’t do much to stop the beatings and unconstitutional arrests of the press. A good thing he was spanked decisively before it got worse.
Wilson did cause an ecomomic depression though. [God bless Harding!] The really irritating thing about Wilson was that Wilson pulled it off. He also had pervaded colleges with his progressive vision.