Reed on Wilson

A chatty sort of cocktail-party game that libertarians sometimes play is Name the Worst President. (We never play Name the Best President, for obvious reasons, but one of my favorite spins on this theme is Jeffrey Rogers Hummel’s candidate for least egregious president: “Martin Van Buren: The American Gladstone.”)

In the current issue of The Freeman, FEE president Lawrence Reed writes about the disaster for America that was 1913. He addresses several nearly simultaneous assaults on American liberty, but what I enjoyed the most was his refreshing summary of top thug Woodrow Wilson, whom Reed describes as “arguably the worst president of the 44 who have held the office”:

Wilson’s racism and philandering are now legendary among serious historians. As president of Princeton University, he barred blacks from the campus. As President of the United States, he ordered the segregation of all departments within the executive branch and appointed ardent segregationists to high positions. He covered up his adulterous affairs while posturing as a man of personal integrity. He led us into a major war he had promised to avoid, then campaigned for a peace treaty that all but guaranteed the next great conflict. He locked up political dissidents right and left as he trampled on the Constitution’s guarantees of speech, assembly, and press freedoms. His wartime economic controls were hideously stupid and counterproductive.

I do recommend reading the rest of Reed’s article: “Beware of Years That End in 13.”


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