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Wilson: Centralizing Executive Information

  • Stephen Ponder
Chapter

Abstract

President Woodrow Wilson, Taft’s successor, long has been recognized for his attempts to use the press to appeal for public support. Wilson held the first sustained, regularly scheduled presidential press conferences between 1913 and 1915. In 1917, after U.S. entry into World War I, Wilson created the nation’s first ministry of information, the Committee on Public Information, to launch a propaganda campaign to persuade U.S. citizens to support the war effort.1

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Notes

  1. 2.
    Tulis, The Rhetorical Presidency, 118–29, 182, 186. Niels Aage Thorsen, The Political Thought of Woodrow Wilson, 1875–1910 (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1988), 107–10.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    See, particularly, excerpts from Wilson’s unpublished 1910 essay, “The Modern Democratic State,” quoted in Thorsen, The Political Thought of Woodrow Wilson, 109–11. More generally, see Woodrow Wilson, Constitutional Government in the United States (New York: Columbia University Press, 1908).Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    David Lawrence, The True Story of Woodrow Wilson (Murray, Hill, N.Y.: George H. Doran, 1924), 55–6.Google Scholar
  4. 6.
    See Remarks at press conference, 7 April 1913, in Arthur S. Link, ed., The Papers of Woodrow Wilson, 69 vols. (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1978): 27:263—4. Juergens, News from the White House: 154–5.Google Scholar
  5. 7.
    The quotation is from Ray Stannard Baker, American Chronicle (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1945), 386—7.Google Scholar
  6. 8.
    Elmer C. Cornwell Jr., “The Press Conferences of Woodrow Wilson,” Journalism Quarterly 39 (Summer 1962): 292—300, found that the conferences, even if off the record, were frequently followed by stories in the New York Times. See generally Hilderbrand, Power and the People: 94–104; Juergens, News from the White House, 140–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 9.
    George E. Mowry, “Election of 1912,” in Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., ed., History of American Presidential Elections, 1798–1968 (New York: Chelsea House, 1971), 3:2135–242.Google Scholar
  8. 10.
    For a discussion of Wilson’s rocky experience with the press prior to the presidency, see quan Juergens, News from the White House, 126–40. Ray Stannard Baker, ed., Woodrow Wilson: Life and Letters, 1 vols. (London: William Heinemann, 1932), 4:229.Google Scholar
  9. 11.
    George Creel, “Woodrow Wilson—The Man Behind the President,” Saturday Evening Post 203 (28 March 1931): 37.Google Scholar
  10. 18.
    The quotation is from Hugh Baillie, High Tension: The Recollections of Hugh Baillie (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1959), 46–7.Google Scholar
  11. 27.
    Eleanor Wilson McAdoo, The Woodrow Wilsons (New York: Macmillan, 1937), 167.Google Scholar
  12. 33.
    John Morton Blum, Joe Tumulty and the Wilson Era (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1951), 61–7.Google Scholar
  13. 38.
    J. A. R. Pimlott, Public Relations and American Democracy (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1951), 69—72.Google Scholar
  14. 42.
    See, generally, Jeffrey E. Cohen, The Politics of the U.S. Cabinet: Representation in the Executive Branch, 1789–1984 (Pittsburgh.: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1984);Google Scholar
  15. Richard F. Fenno Jr., The President’s Cabinet (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1959),CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. and R. Gordon Hoxie, “The Cabinet in the American Presidency, 1789–1984,” Presidential Studies Quarterly 14 (No. 2, Spring 1984): 209–30.Google Scholar
  17. 43.
    Kendrick A. Clements, The Presidency of Woodrow Wilson (Lawrence, Kans.: University Press of Kansas, 1992), 8.Google Scholar
  18. See also Sidney M. Milkis and Michael Nelson, The American Presidency: Origins and Development, 1776–1990 (Washington, D.C.: Congressional Quarterly, 1990), 221—2.Google Scholar
  19. 44.
    August Heckscher, Woodrow Wilson (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1991), 272.Google Scholar
  20. 46.
    The number of Cabinet agencies also had increased, to ten by 1913, according to Paul P. Van Riper, “The American Administrative State: Wilson and the Founders,” in Ralph Clark Chandler, ed., A Centennial History of the American Administrative State (New York: Free Press, 1987), 16.Google Scholar
  21. 47.
    See entry of 10 March 1913, in E. David Cronon, ed. The Cabinet Diaries of Josephus Daniels, 1913–1921 (Lincoln, Nebr.: University of Nebraska Press, 1963), 6.Google Scholar
  22. 49.
    For examples of Lane’s frequent written exchanges with newspapermen, see Anne Wintermute Lane and Louise Herrick Wall, eds., The Letters of Franklin K. Lane: Personal and Political (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1922).Google Scholar
  23. 57.
    The quotation is from David F. Houston, Eight Years with Wilson’s Cabinet, 1913–1920, 2 vols. (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, Page, 1926), 1:87–8. See also Baker, Woodrow Wilson: Life and Letters, 4:297–8.Google Scholar
  24. 58.
    Arthur S. Link, The New Freedom (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1960), 74—6. See also Heckscher, Woodrow Wilson, 282–3.Google Scholar

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© Stephen Ponder 1998

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  • Stephen Ponder

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