Woodrow Wilson's The History of the American People; Signed by Him
A History of the American People.
Item Number: 58010
New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1902.
First edition. Octavo, 5 volumes, red cloth, gilt titles to the spine, front panels, contains numerous plates and illustrations. Signed by President Wilson in volume one, “Woodrow Wilson, 31 March, 1905.” In near fine condition.
"Wilson wanted to enhance the presidency by establishing a direct link to the American people. He thought the president, as their spokesman, should be the preeminent leader of the democratic nation. Long convinced that the British parliamentary government was better than the American constitutional system, he exerted personal influence on the legislative branch in unprecedented ways…The first president to hold regular press conferences, he sought to shape public opinion by managing news from the White House. Moreover, he delivered messages personally to Congress, reviving a practice that George Washington and John Adams had used on a few occasions. From Jefferson through Taft, other U.S. presidents had submitted only written messages" (ANB). As a writer, Wilson "propounded his own frontier thesis to explain American history. Influenced by conversations and correspondence with historian Frederick Jackson Turner, Wilson now credited the frontier, more than the Anglo-Saxon heritage, with the rise of freedom and democracy in the New World" (ANB). "As a lecturer and writer Wilson had a genius for simplification, for the clarification of the complex and the explanation of the relation of things. These qualities he carried into his political speeches and they account in part, at least, for the effect he exercised upon men's minds" (DAB).