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opponents off their feet by an overwhelming rush; he was not endowed with the tactical genius of a skillful negotiator; he was, above all, handicapped by the personal hostilities which he had aroused at home.
In Europe the President achieved at least partial success. He proved unable to marshal the forces of liberalism in such a way as to carry his complete programme to victory, and the sacrifices which he made to the spirit of selfish nationalism cost him the support and the confidence of many progressive elements, while they did not placate the hostility of the reactionaries. But he secured the League of Nations, the symbol and the instrument of the new international organization which he sought. Thereby at least a beginning was made in concrete form, which might later be developed, when the force of the post-bellum reaction had wasted itself.
At home, however, the forces of opposition proved strong enough to rob the President of what might have been a triumph. He lacked the capacity to reconcile his personal and political opponents, as well as the ability to compromise with the elements that were inclined to meet him halfway. In accordance with his basic principles he appealed from the politicians to the people. But here again he failed, whether because of personal unpopularity, or because of the poor publicity which had been given his efforts at Paris, or because of the physical breakdown which shattered his persuasive powers and finally led to his retirement from the struggle. The vindication which he sought in the presidential election of 1920 was denied him. The country was tired of a Democratic Administration and gave to the Republican candidate an overwhelming plurality. The sole comfort that Wilson could take, in the face of the election returns, was that both candidates had declared for the principle of international organization and that the most distinguished supporters of the successful Republican candidate had pledged themselves to a League of Nations.
The months that followed the President's return from Paris until the close of his administration thus form a period of personal tragedy. He had achieved a broad measure of success in Europe, where the difficulties appeared stupendous, only to have the cup dashed from his lips at the last moment in his own country. The bitterness of the experience was intensified by his physical helplessness. But we should lack perspective if we made the mistake of confusing personal tragedy with failure. His work remained uncrowned, but there was much that could never be undone. The articulate expression of the hopes of the world, which President Wilson voiced during the war, remains imperishable as a guide to this and future generations. The League of Nations, weakened by the absence of the United States but actually organized and in operation, was the President's work. Whatever the fortunes of this particular League the steps taken toward international coöperation by its foundation can never be completely retraced.
Woodrow Wilson, however, is not to be assessed by his accomplishment. It is as prophet and not as man of action that he will be regarded by history. Like the prophets of old, like Luther or Mazzini, he lacked the capacity for carrying to practical success the ideal which he preached. But to assume that he must accordingly be adjudged a failure is to ignore the significance of the ideals to which he awakened the world. Much there was that was unattainable and intangible, but its value to mankind in the development of international relations may be inestimable. Not on the vulgar mass Called “work” must sentence pass,
Things done, that took the eye and had the price....
Thus far no adequate biography of President Wilson, covering his career through the Peace Conference, has been published. The most suggestive is Henry Jones Ford's Woodrow Wilson: The Man and His Work (1916) which stops with the close of the first term. The author, a Princeton professor, is a warm personal and political admirer of the President, but he makes a definite attempt at critical appreciation. W. E. Dodd's Woodrow Wilson and His Work (1920) is comprehensive and brings the story to the end of the Peace Conference, but it is marred by eulogistic interpretation and anti-capitalistic bias. An interesting effort to interpret the President to British readers in the form of biography has been made by H. W. Harris in President Wilson: His Problems and His Policy (1917). W. B. Hale, in The Story of a Stylo (1920), attempts to analyze the motives by which the President is inspired. But the best material to serve this end is to be found in the President's writings, especially Congressional Government (1885), An Old Master and Other Political Essays (1893), Constitutional Government in the United States (1908), The New Freedom (1913), International Ideals (1919). The two last-named are collections of addresses made in explanation and advocacy of his plans of domestic and international reform. The most