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Woodrow Wilson State of the Union Highlights: 10 Quotes From Speech

Image: Woodrow Wilson State of the Union Highlights: 10 Quotes From Speech
President Woodrow Wilson addresses the United States Congress early in his first term. (wikimedia/commons)

By    |   Sunday, 22 Mar 2015 05:14 PM

The twenty-eighth president of the United States led our country through involvement in World War I. Woodrow Wilson served two terms in office and delivered eight State of the Union addresses.

According to the American Presidency Project, Wilson was not well enough in 1919 and 1920 to address Congress. In those years, he issued a written address. The 1919 State of the Union address was shortly after the German armistice had been signed, and before the Treaty of Versailles would end the war. According to The White House, it was Wilson’s fight for approval of the treaty that took a tremendous toll on the president’s health. The 1919 address, however, focused greatly on domestic policies, like food safety, taxes and labor issues.

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Here are 10 quotes from the 1919 State of the Union Address:

1. “I sincerely regret that I cannot be present at the opening of this session of the Congress. I am thus prevented from presenting in as direct a way as I could wish the many questions that are pressing for solution at this time.”

2. “I trust that the Congress will give its immediate consideration to the problem of future taxation. Simplification of the income and profits taxes has become an immediate necessity. These taxes performed indispensable service during the war. They must, however, be simplified, not only to save the taxpayer inconvenience and expense, but in order that his liability may be made certain and definite.”

3. “The Congress might well consider whether the higher rates of income and profits taxes can in peace times be effectively productive of revenue, and whether they may not, on the contrary, be destructive of business activity and productive of waste and inefficiency. There is a point at which in peace times high rates of income and profits taxes discourage energy, remove the incentive to new enterprises, encourage extravagant expenditures and produce industrial stagnation with consequent unemployment and other attendant evils.”

4. “No policy of isolation will satisfy the growing needs and opportunities of America. The provincial standards and policies of the past, which have held American business as if in a strait-jacket, must yield and give way to the needs and exigencies of the new day in which we live, a day full of hope and promise for American business, if we will but take advantage of the opportunities that are ours for the asking. The recent war has ended our isolation and thrown upon us a great duty and responsibility. The United States must share the expanding world market.”

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5. “We must see to it that our returning soldiers are assisted in every practicable way to find the places for which they are fitted in the daily work of the country. This can be done by developing and maintaining upon an adequate scale the admirable organization created by the Department of Labor for placing men seeking work; and it can also be done, in at least one very great field, by creating new opportunities for individual enterprise.”

6. “Congress has already shown its willingness to deal with these industrial wrongs by establishing the eight-hour day as the standard in every field of labor. It has sought to find a way to prevent child labor. It has served the whole country by leading the way in developing the means of preserving and safeguarding lives and health in dangerous industries. It must now help in the difficult task of finding a method that will bring about a genuine democratization of industry, based upon the full recognition of the right of those who work, in whatever rank, to participate in some organic way in every decision which directly affects their welfare.”

7. “The statesmen gathered at Versailles recognized the fact that world stability could not be had by reverting to industrial standards and conditions against which the average workman of the world had revolted. It is, therefore, the task of the statesmen of this new day of change and readjustment to recognize world conditions and to seek to bring about, through legislation, conditions that will mean the ending of age-long antagonisms between capital and labor and that will hopefully lead to the building up of a comradeship which will result not only in greater contentment among the mass of workmen but also bring about a greater production and a greater prosperity to business itself.”

8. “This is the hour of test and trial for America. By her prowess and strength, and the indomitable courage of her soldiers, she demonstrated her power to vindicate on foreign battlefields her conceptions of liberty and justice. Let not her influence as a mediator between capital and labor be weakened and her own failure to settle matters of purely domestic concern be proclaimed to the world.”

9. “In America there is but one way by which great reforms can be accomplished and the relief sought by classes obtained, and that is through the orderly processes of representative government.”

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10. “America will not be daunted by threats nor lose her composure or calmness in these distressing times. We can afford, in the midst of this day of passion and unrest, to be self - contained and sure. The instrument of all reform in America is the ballot. The road to economic and social reform in America is the straight road of justice to all classes and conditions of men.”

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The twenty-eighth president of the United States led our country through involvement in World War I. Woodrow Wilson served two terms in office and delivered eight State of the Union addresses.
woodrow wilson, state of the union
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2015-14-22
Sunday, 22 Mar 2015 05:14 PM
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