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Papers of Woodrow Wilson, Supplementary Volumes

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"Brother Woodrow"

Stockton Axson

This memoir of Woodrow Wilson is a long-neglected treasure, full of the candid and perceptive observations of Wilson's brother-in-law and close friend, Stockton Axson. A charming and talented scholar of English literature, Axson became one of the few people in whom the reticent Wilson confided freely. Axson and Wilson met in 1884, when Wilson was courting Axson's sister Ellen, while Axson was still a school boy. The friendship of the two men ended only with the president's death in 1924. Axson's fondness for his mentor, "Brother Woodrow," pervades this account, but he is frank in his analysis of Wilson's flaws. As one of only a few personal memoirs of Wilson, this book offers a uniquely intimate view of the "human side" of the introverted president--and a sensitive evocation of the social life of a bygone era.

Axson begins with memories of Wilson's father and of Wilson's life as a young man, including his engagement and marriage to Ellen Axson and his early teaching posts. Wilson taught for twelve years at Princeton University before his accession to its presidency, and Axson also taught there during this period. After Wilson began his stormy career as president of Princeton, Axson's bachelor quarters were often a meeting place for the "Wilson faction." His lucid analysis of Wilson's successes and failures as Princeton's president is one of the highlights of the book--and probably the best record of these years of Wilson's life.

The book ends with a look behind the scenes of Wilson's career as governor of New Jersey and president of the United States, and an analysis of the growing complexity of his personality. "It is Uncle Joseph [Wilson's father] in him," observed one relative of Wilson's seeming rigidity. From the standpoint of a loving family member, Axson offers a penetrating but sympathetic report on how Wilson changed as he bore the terrible burdens of World War I and its aftermath.

Originally published in 1993.

The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

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The Political Thought of Woodrow Wilson, 1875-1910

Niels Aage Thorsen

Niels Thorsen argues that Woodrow Wilson was one of America's most important political scientists. Focusing on the period from Wilson's early years until he was elected Governor of New Jersey, this work shows why he deserves a prominent place in the history of American political thought, even apart from his later attainments in the political arena. His book Congressional Government, his seminal article on "The Study of Public Administration," and his textbook on The State were important contributions during the formative years of academic political science in America. In contrast to those who propose psychological explanations of Wilson's early interest in political problems, Thorsen contends that the crisis of the election of 1876 against the backdrop of the Civil War was decisive in turning Wilson's attention to political ideas.

Implying the abandonment of a more traditional form of political thought based on the social contract and on constitutionalism, egalitarianism, and common sense, Wilson linked his conclusions about the nature of politics to the rise of the social and economic sciences. Distinctive in his academic work were ideas about social and economic diversification as the condition for the growth of national power, and about political leadership asserted at home and abroad as a way to overcome traditional American fears about centralized power.

Originally published in 1988.

The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

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