Woodrow Wilson Quotes

I have come slowly into possession of such powers as I have ... I receive the opinions of my day. I do not conceive them. But I receive them into a vivid mind.
Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924), U.S. president. From a "Confidential Journal," December 28, 1889. The Public Papers of Woodrow Wilson, vol. 6, p. 462, ed. Arthur S. Link. Wilson was a young professor at Wesleyan University when he made this very just appraisal of his intellectual powers.
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These are days ... when a great cloud of trouble hangs and broods over the greater part of the world.... Then all about them, all about us, sits the silent, waiting tribunal which is going to utter the ultimate judgment upon this struggle.... No man is wise enough to produce judgment, but we call hold our spirits in readiness to accept the truth when it dawns on us and is revealed to us in the outcome of this titanic struggle.
Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924), U.S. president. Address before the annual conference of the Methodist Protestant Church, Baltimore (1915). In this address to a religious organization Wilson was expressing his deepest doubts about the moral issues of World War I....
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I have rather a strange objection to talking from the back platform of a train.... It changes too often. It moves around and shifts its ground too often. I like a platform that stays put.
Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924), U.S. president. Remarks, September 16, 1912, from a rear platform, Union City, Indiana. The Public Papers of Woodrow Wilson, vol. 25, p. 148, ed. Arthur S. Link. Wilson was starting out on the 1912 campaign.
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The great war that broke so suddenly upon the world two years ago, and which has swept up within its flame so great a part of the civilized world, has affected us very profoundly.... With its causes and its objects we are not concerned. The obscure fountains from which its stupendous flood has burst we are not interested to search for or explore.
Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924), U.S. president. Address before the League to Enforce Peace (May 27, 1915). Wilson in this important speech was speaking as an historian more than as a diplomatist. His equating the "objects" for which the two sides were fighting infuriated the allied powers.
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The Constitution of the United States is not a mere lawyers' document. It is a vehicle of life, and its spirit is always the spirit of the age. Its prescriptions are clear and we know what they are ... but life is always your last and most authoritative critic.
Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924), U.S. president. Constitutional Government in the United States (1908). The Public Papers of Woodrow Wilson, vol. 17, p. 115, ed. Arthur S. Link.
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Any man that resists the present tides that run in the world, will find himself thrown upon a shore so high and barren that it will seem he has been separated from his human kind forever.
Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924), U.S. president. Address, February 24, 1919, in Boston, Mass. Wilson's defiance of his arch-enemy Senator Lodge, on a brief return from the Paris peace conference.
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Would that we could do something, at once dignified and effective, to knock Mr. Bryan once and for all into a cocked hat.
Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924), U.S. president. Letter, August 29, 1907, to A.H. Joline. The Public Papers of Woodrow Wilson, vol. 17, p. 124, ed. Arthur S. Link. Wilson was writing in private to a man who became part of the opposition on the Princeton board. Five years later the letter was released in the midst of the 1912 campaign. Many feared it would cost Wilson the Democratic nomination. Actually Bryan became one of his most effective supporters in the Baltimore convention.
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It is from quiet places like this all over the world that the forces accumulate which presently will overbear any attempt to accomplish evil on a large scale. Like the rivulets gathering into the river, and the river into the seas, there come from communities like this streams that fertilize the consciences of men, and it is the conscience of the world that we are trying to place upon the throne which others would usurp.
Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924), U.S. president. Address in Carlisle, England (December 29, 1918). Wilson was speaking in his grandfather's church. Called on in the midst of the service, his brief extemporaneous remarks summed up the idealism of the hour.
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Long a child, longer a diffident youth.
Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924), U.S. president. Letter, March 9, 1894, to Ellen Axson Wilson. The Public Papers of Woodrow Wilson, vol. 4, ed. Arthur S. Link.
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The example of America must be the example, not merely of peace because it will not fight, but of peace because it is the healing and elevating influence of the world, and strife is not. There is such a thing as a man being too proud to fight. There is such a thing as a nation being so right that it does not need to convince others by force that it is right.
Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924), U.S. president. Address in Philadelphia (May 10, 1915). The phrase "too proud to fight" was one of Wilson's worst blunders and infuriated the allied powers. It can be understood, at least partially, by remembering he was a Southerner with a Southerner's concept of "pride."
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