PositionBLAST FROM THE PAST - Deceptions of the President Woodrow Wilson - Column

In the very first issue of La Follette's Weekly, later The Progressive, founder Robert M. "Fighting Bob" La Follette declared that his magazine "will speak the truth. No eminence of position in party or government shall protect a servant of the people from deserved criticism." The Progressive has long seen its role as being a critic of the powerful and an advocate of the everyday working people.

In a series of articles in 1919, La Follette decried the deceptions of the President, Woodrow Wilson, who had promised peace but took the country down the path of war. In an article that appeared in July 1919, he wrote:

I have supported President Wilson since March 4th, 1913, whenever I believed his administration merited approval. I have criticized him whenever I believed his course of action was wrong. I opposed his plunging this country into a foreign war. I opposed his draft laws and his policy of financing the war in such large measure by bond issues, and at the same time allowing the war traders to escape with billions of war profits that paid no war-profits tax at all.

Together with four other men, speaking for the Allied powers, he has framed in secret, and has signed and sealed the League Compact and Treaty. This he did in defiance of both the letter and spirit of the Constitution. It was a most willful violation of that provision of our fundamental law which specifically declares that the Senate shall participate as adviser, in the making of a treaty--not merely "concur" in a treaty after it has been made.

In September 1919, La Follette continued his critique with an article titled "The Two Wilsons," showing the Presidents duplicity:

One of these Wilsons prior to his re-election in 1916 used all the parts of speech to persuade the American people to believe that he would keep us out of the European War. Immediately after war was declared...

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