Home › Forums › Discuss U.S. History Since 1877 › Woodrow Wilson's Domestic Policy
- This topic has 8 replies, 6 voices, and was last updated 11 years ago by Brion McClanahan.
April 29, 2012 at 4:48 am #15619
I’m sure a lot has been criticized about Woodrow Wilson’s Foreign Policy in regards to War World 1.
Though, a thought came to me about the effects of Wilson’s domestic policy. Did his domestic policy legislation have any hugely negative impact on the country or the people like FDR’s New Deal, Teddy’s Square Deal, and LBJ’s Great Society, despite it’s well-intentions?April 29, 2012 at 10:58 am #15620rtMember
Under The Wilson administration the income tax was instituted and the Federal Reserve System was founded. These were very important changes because it allowed the Federal Government to tax people’s income.
Through the Fed the government can inflate the money supply. Since the foundation of the Fed the dollar lost about 97% of its purchasing power.
Through inflation and the lowering of the interest rates the central bank (i.e. the Fed) is responsible for the boom bust cycles. Hence the Fed caused the Great Depression and the financial crisis of 2008.
Andrew Napolitano has a book coming out later this year on the progressive era:
http://www.amazon.com/Theodore-Woodrow-Presidents-Destroyed-Constitutional/dp/1595553517/ref=sr_1_11?ie=UTF8&qid=1335711069&sr=8-11April 29, 2012 at 9:30 pm #15621
Thanks! I sorta off knew about the Fed already, but thank you for the crash course on it anyway!
I’ll be looking forward to Napolitano’s book!
Was there anything else as, far as social issues go that he unfortunately, screw up on?April 29, 2012 at 10:15 pm #15622Brion McClanahanMember
Sons did a nice job with his answer, but there are other elements of Wilson’s domestic policy that had catastrophic effects on the American political system.
Wilson believed that the president was the “political leader of the nation,” and as such thought the president was more “prime minister” than president. Thus, he should be able to initiate legislation and ram through a domestic agenda, what he labeled the New Freedom. Wikipedia has a nice point by point discussion of the New Freedom. He favored vigorous anti-trust activity and supported the Clayton Antitrust Act, alone with the aforementioned FED. He also began the process of providing government subsidized loans to farmers. It is also important to note that the income tax amendment was ratified during the Taft administration, but Wilson gave it teeth by insisting on a graduated income tax. The 16th does not stipulate what kind of income tax the government will use, only that it is legal for it to use one. The Republicans of the 1860s gave the U.S. its first income tax, legislation that was later declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
Wilson also favored a sedition law during World War I which resulted in over 100,000 people being arrested and deported during the War. The nationalization of the American economy during the war was the blueprint for FDR in WWII, and his interventionist foreign policy was evident not only with WWI but also in Latin America where U.S. troops had boots on the ground in several conflicts during his administration, most famously in Mexico after the communist revolution there resulted in American oil interests being expelled from the country.
If you want to know more about Wilson, read Edward M. House’s “Philip Dru: Administrator.” Glenn Beck was hot on that book a few years ago, but I have been teaching that since I started lecturing in the late 90s. House was one of Wilson’s most trusted advisers. He even lived in the White House for a time. This is the blueprint for the Wilson administration.
Of course, Wilson supported the splinter National Democratic Party in 1896 (the Gold Democrats), the last great conservative Democratic Party in the U.S. This was a blip on his political career, however, as his administration in no way reflected his support for that movement. I wrote a brief article on this here: http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig10/mcclanahan1.html I also have a chapter on E.L. Godkin, a NDP supporter in my forthcoming Forgotten Conservatives in American History with Clyde Wilson: http://www.amazon.com/Forgotten-Conservatives-American-History-McClanahan/dp/145561579X/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpt_3
I am also including Wilson in my “fraudulent five” section of my forthcoming “Politically Incorrect Guide to Real American Heroes” due out in November. http://www.amazon.com/Politically-Incorrect-Guide-American-Heroes/dp/1596983205/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpt_4
Hope that helps.May 3, 2012 at 9:31 am #15623
Wow, thanks for the books suggestion! I’ll be looking forward too your political guide! Thanks for the help! 😉May 8, 2012 at 5:02 pm #15624mpelkowskiMember
Don’t forget that pesky old 17th Amendment passed during the Wilson presidency. Prior to the 17th Amendment U.S. Senators were chosen by the State Legislatures from each state. After the passage of the 17th, the U.S. Senators were chosen by a popular vote of the people of each state.
This removed a very strong check on Federal Power that was held by the states. Prior to the 17th you had the voice of the people in the House of Representatives and the voice of the State governments in the Senate. After the passage of the 17th, the governments of each of the states had no voice at the Federal level.May 18, 2012 at 7:58 pm #15625kwgeraldsMember
Wow Brion McClanahan , great reply! Getting my subscriptions worth right there. Michael bring up a great point about the 17th, it paralyzed federalism.
Wilson did oppose women’s suffrage for most of his administration.
A mix of domestic/foreign policy: Wilson (With Henry Stimson pulling his strings) drafted over 2 1/2 million from the labor force and into the military.June 2, 2012 at 7:26 pm #15626gutzmankParticipant
Let’s not forget that Wilson also re-segregated the District of Columbia. Many of D.C.’s black residents regard him as the worst of presidents for that reason even today. This initiative was consistent with his imperialist position after the Spanish-American War, when he described the Filipinos as “our subjects” and explained that Western man had a duty to give tutelage to the less advanced peoples — all of which has a certain Kipling (“The White Man’s Burden”) air about it.June 2, 2012 at 9:39 pm #15627Brion McClanahanMember
Kevin: Don’t forget Taft called the Filipino people his “little brown brothers.”
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