The Long Shadow Of The Progressives: Woodrow Wilson and Peace Without Victory

This speech and the Eugene Debs incident are helpful in understanding the current Democrat party. It is part of their DNA.

Woodrow Wilson, Peace Without Victory Speech:

They imply, first of all, that it must be a peace without victory. It is not pleasant to say this. I beg that I may be permitted to put my own interpretation upon it and that it may be understood that no other interpretation was in my thought. I am seeking only to face realities and to face them without soft concealments. Victory would mean peace forced upon the loser, a victor’s terms imposed upon the vanquished. It would be accepted in humiliation, under duress, at an intolerable sacrifice, and would leave a sting, a resentment, a bitter memory upon which terms of peace would rest, not permanently but only as upon quicksand. Only a peace between equals can last. Only a peace the very principle of which is equality and a common participation in a common benefit. The right state of mind, the right feeling between nations, is as necessary for a lasting peace as is the just settlement of vexed questions of territory or of racial and national allegiance.

The equality of nations upon which peace must be founded if it is to last must be an equality of rights; the guarantees exchanged must neither recognize nor imply a difference between big nations and small, between those that are powerful and those that are weak. Right must be based upon the common strength, not upon the individual strength, of the nations upon whose concert peace will depend. Equality of territory or of resources there of course cannot be; nor any other sort of equality not gained in the ordinary peaceful and legitimate development of the peoples themselves. But no one asks or expects anything more than an equality of rights. Mankind is looking now for freedom of life, not for equipoises of power.

Apparently,Wilson’s views on peace did not apply to political opponents. Remember Eugene Debs?

Once the United States entered the war, Debs was arrested for violating the Espionage Act after making what the district attorney of Canton, Ohio called an anti-war speech in 1918. Debs in fact only mentioned the war once, but under this repressive new law, was sentenced to ten years in a federal penitentiary. Nominated for a fifth time as the Socialist Party’s presidential candidate in 1920, Debs campaigned from his jail cell and garnered over a million votes. Despite repeated pleas from Debs’ supporters, President Wilson refused to release Debs from prison.

The Long Shadow Of The Progressives: The Great Society

Progressives have been proposing the same agenda since Teddy Roosevelt (in the early 1900’s). Case and point, an excerpt of LBJ’s great society speech at the University Of Michigan in 1964 (emphasis added):

Many of you will live to see the day, perhaps 50 years from now, when there will be 400 million Americans — four-fifths of them in urban areas. In the remainder of this century urban population will double, city land will double, and we will have to build homes, highways, and facilities equal to all those built since this country was first settled. So in the next 40 years we must re-build the entire urban United States.

Aristotle said: “Men come together in cities in order to live, but they remain together in order to live the good life.” It is harder and harder to live the good life in American cities today.

The catalog of ills is long: there is the decay of the centers and the despoiling of the suburbs. There is not enough housing for our people or transportation for our traffic. Open land is vanishing and old landmarks are violated.

Worst of all expansion is eroding the precious and time honored values of community with neighbors and communion with nature. The loss of these values breeds loneliness and boredom and indifference.

46 years later BHO (Obama) speaking to a group of City Mayors:

… and we expect you to use it. Already, we’ve met with you and the Conference of Mayors over a half-a-dozen times. Too often in the past, America’s cities have been neglected and our mayors haven’t had — haven’t been able to be heard on the questions of national policy. That’s a story you all understand and know very well.

But we know how important cities are. Sixty-five percent of our nation’s population, as you all know, live in our cities. Our cities are the home of 7 out of 10 American jobs. And when you’re talking about the knowledge economy jobs, the number rises to 8 in 10, 8 out of 10.

Cities are vital to our economy, essential to our recovery, and haven’t been paid much attention to. Our economy can never reach, in our view, its full potential if we have people who are living blocks away, but worlds away from the bustling downtowns full of opportunity.

Our poor transportation system don’t provide mobility when people need to get to the job or — or there aren’t enough police or firefighters in the communities to keep the communities safe.

And that’s why the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act President Obama signed this week, I think, includes unprecedented investment in American cities.


The more things change, the more they stay the same.