9780743298094

The Moralist

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780743298094

  • ISBN10:

    0743298098

  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2018-04-24
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster

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Supplemental Materials

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Summary

“Enlightening...O’Toole has done students of American history a great service.”—National Review

“An elegantly and wittily written, deeply nuanced, and finely argued biography...An essential contribution to presidential history.”—Booklist, starred review

By the author of acclaimed biographies of Theodore Roosevelt and Henry Adams, a penetrating biography of one of the most high-minded, consequential, and controversial US presidents, Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924). The Moralist is a cautionary tale about the perils of moral vanity and American overreach in foreign affairs.

In domestic affairs, Wilson was a progressive who enjoyed unprecedented success in leveling the economic playing field, but he was behind the times on racial equality and women’s suffrage. As a Southern boy during the Civil War, he knew the ravages of war, and as president he refused to lead the country into World War I until he was convinced that Germany posed a direct threat to the United States.

Once committed, he was an admirable commander-in-chief, yet he also presided over the harshest suppression of political dissent in American history.

After the war Wilson became the world’s most ardent champion of liberal internationalism—a democratic new world order committed to peace, collective security, and free trade. With Wilson’s leadership, the governments at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919 founded the League of Nations, a federation of the world’s democracies. The creation of the League, Wilson’s last great triumph, was quickly followed by two crushing blows: a paralyzing stroke and the rejection of the treaty that would have allowed the United States to join the League.

After a backlash against internationalism in the 1920s and 1930s, Wilson’s liberal internationalism was revived by Franklin D. Roosevelt and it has shaped American foreign relations—for better and worse—ever since.

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