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Saturday, January 26, 2013

January 26-27, 2013: Crowd-Sourcing Second Terms

[With Monday’s Inauguration Day, Barack Obama begins his second term as President. So this week I’ve highlighted some interesting second term moments and issues from American history. As always, this crowd-sourced post on all things second terms and presidencies is drawn from the responses and thoughts of fellow AmericanStudiers—add yours, please!]
Following up the Woodrow Wilson post, Maggi Smith-Dalton writes, “Ok. Woodrow Wilson DOES get a bad rap. Disclaimer up front: he is one of my favorite Presidents, because of his complexity and yet...because of a certain attractive simplicity in his worldview--which envisioned a world of justice and peace. One must always take into account his personal AND historical context vis a vis being the first Southern president elected since the end of the Civil War, and the fact his formative memories included the landscape of southern devastation. That he was a prisoner of his personal and historical time in terms of race relations (or with ferreting out the "Reds") is of course not laudable, but it is also not unusual nor is it beyond understanding. Civil liberties of US citizens have been violated repeatedly by governing bodies and Presidents great and mediocre since the establishment of government. As for the war involvement...well...that is far too complex a subject to address here in nuanced argument but my bottom line is that I respectfully object to the argument that hypocrisy entered into his decision to go to war. Furthermore.... Faults or not, mistakes or not, in my opinion he waged a heartbreaking, admirable, and difficult subsequent campaign to bring people to the table with words rather than swords, and his very failure to bring the US into the League of Nations nevertheless laid the seeds which saw fruition later in the establishment of the UN.  Such is often the case in human a garden plant, death must occur to nourish the soil for new plants to thrive. I have way more to say here but suffice to say I do not see Wilson's second term as a failure. And as an addendum, I truly believe his illness had much to do with the sorrows of this term, more than a failure of character or political will.”
Next series starts Monday,
PS. What do you think? Interesting second term and/or presidential highlights you’d share?

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