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Under our form of government, the President occupies a place that has no exact parallel in the government of any other important country. In the last analysis we are governed by public opinion, of which the President is chief exponent. He is the country's spokesman, not merely by custom but by express Constitutional provision and mandate. He is directed to inform Congress from time to time concerning the vital interests of the United States. He is also made the spokesman of the country in its dealings with foreign governments.
The President's Messages to Congress are not merely a form of communication between the executive and the lawmaking authority, but they are intended to give information and guidance to the citizenship. Thus we have a surprising quantity of important historical and governmental material of an authoritative kind in the unbroken series of Presidential messages and addresses, beginning with the first inaugural of George Washington and coming down to the latest official utterance of Woodrow Wilson.
All of our Presidents have been fully responsive to the duty of giving information to Congress and the country concerning the carrying-on of the government and the public concerns of the nation. Not one of them in the list has come seriously short in this regard, although some of them have been more conspicuous than others in point of literary or oratorical ability.
Perhaps no other President has, relatively speaking, use of written and spoken appeals to Congress, to American citizens, and to the public opinion of the world, as has Woodrow Wilson. His utterances have shaped events, not only in the current sense but in the larger aspects of history. His Messages to Congress have been unusual in their frequency, vital in their relation to policies, and notable in the fact that he has appeared in person to present them. All of these Messages are published in this little volume.
Besides these Messages to Congress, however, he has made many important addresses of a semi-official nature since assuming the Presidency, while he has been the author of a series of diplomatic notes and of proclamations relating to international affairs that constitute state papers of the highest significance. These documents also are included in the present volume, together with much material of Presidential authorship relating to the conduct of the war and to the policies of the Government.
The remarkable literary quality of Mr. Wilson's addresses is only eclipsed by their statesmanlike character in relation to public affairs of great moment. His sentences and paragraphs, in their discussion of world affairs, have helped to crystallize the vague longings of right-thinking men in all nations into something like definite policies for permanent peace on the basis of democracy and international justice. This collection of state papers and Presidential utterances is not, therefore, of transitory interest and importance, but of permanent value; and it ought to be in the home and at the hand of every intelligent citizen.
sion (April 8, 1913) . . . . . . .
Legislation (May 26, 1913) . . . . . . 9
lation (June 23, 1913) . . . . . . .
27, 1918) . . . . . . . . . . .
delphia (October 25, 1913) . . . . . .
Mobile, Ala. (October 27, 1913) . . . .
1913) . . . . . . . . . . . 37
Monopolies (January 20, 1914) ....
Mexico (February 3, 1914, and October 19, 1915)
Tolls Provision for American Ships at Panama
(March 6, 1914) . . . . . . . . .
dent (April 20, 1914) . . . . . . . 69
tion of New Haven Railroad Mergers (July
Third Annual Message to Congress (December 7,
1915) . . . . . . . . . . . 133
Urging Neutrality on American People (August
19, 1914) . . . . . . . . . .