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Word Count: 955
Woodrow Wilson left the White House a broken man rigid in his idealistic commitments to a League of Nations that would have been accepted if he had been willing to compromise Most historians believe that his incapacitating stroke robbed him of the ability to reason correctly and to assess the reality of the situation There can be no doubt but that Wilson had been driven throughout his life by a moralistic passion to make right the world and by a supreme confidence in himself as Gods instrument But for the stroke he might have managed to persuade the American people to follow his lead and he was making clear progress in shaping public opinion when struck down on the campaign trail Given a few more weeks of hearing his message America might well have ratified Wilsons treaty and joined the European nations in a League dedicated to world peace Putting aside the tragedy of his last year in office it is clear that Wilson was able to have an impact on the presidency and the nation more profoundly than any president since Abraham Lincolnthough it is also clear that he built upon the solid foundation laid by Theodore Roosevelt His strong leadership in foreign affairs influence on his party in Congress and ability to shape public opinion fashioned the modern presidency Under his leadership Congress enacted the most cohesive complete and elaborate program of federal oversight up to that time banking reform under the auspices of the Federal Reserve System tariff reduction federal regulation of business support for labor and collective bargaining and federal aid to education and agriculture During the war moreover he took federal authority and control of the economy and society beyond even those levels reached later during World War II Prior to 1916 Wilson was an anti-imperialist and a champion of human rights He stood for democracy and morality in Mexico Haiti and the Dominican Republic and he brought home rule
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