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The Fine Print

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Ray Girvan

This is in an era given prominent mention in James W Loewen's Lies My Teacher Told Me, an expose of historical whitewashing in US school textbooks:

"What we did not learn about Woodrow Wilson is even more remarkable. When I ask my college students to tell me what they recall about President Wilson, they respond with enthusiasm. They say that Wilson led our country reluctantly into World War I and after the war led the struggle nationally and internationally to establish the League of Nations. They associate Wilson with progressive causes like women's suffrage. A handful of students recall the Wilson administration's Palmer Raids against left-wing unions. But my students seldom know or speak about two antidemocratic policies that Wilson carried out: his racial segregation of the federal government and his military interventions in foreign countries.

"Under Wilson, the United States intervened in Latin America more often than at any other time in our history. We landed troops in Mexico in 1914, Haiti in 1915, the Dominican Republic in 1916, Mexico again in 1916 (and nine more times before the end of Wilson's presidency), Cuba in 1917, and Panama in 1918. Throughout his administration Wilson maintained forces in Nicaragua, using them to determine Nicaragua's president and to force passage of a treaty preferential to the United States."

John F. Ptak

Happy birthday, Ray!
Thanks for this addition. All of this of course is true, and I'm not quite sure how Wilson dragged himself into the League of Nations with such bulky luggage. For all of his lofty language and ideals he shared not so much of them with folks in this hemisphere.

Jeff Donlan

Lofty language and ideals are ALWAYS for other people to live up to. I proceed with that expectation, anyway. If I'm going to spend time and energy coming up with an expansive, high-minded idea, I expect someone to follow it.

Ray Girvan

"Happy birthday, Ray!"

Thanks! I'd forgotten FaceBook gave that away - eeurgh, 54 (I'm still 18 inside).

It's a very interesting, quite possibly pivotal, era in US history that saw socialist movements stamped on. Newman & Byrne's "Back in the USSA" - http://segalbooks.blogspot.com/2008/07/newman-byrne-alternate-histories.html - is a lovely pastiche and exploration of the idea.

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