When asked what leader influenced the failure of an organization or large group because of the change that they personally influenced, no other leader comes to mind stronger than that of Woodrow Wilson.
Thomas Woodrow Wilson was a leader that largely influenced many changes that would eventually result in what I would like to call “the ultimate failure of America”. Wilson was seen as a leader of the Progressive Movement, which of course is now known to be more socialist in nature. This movement was based on the idea of “progress”, but today we recognize that such words are relative based on who is saying it. However, one can imagine that during those days, these words sounded nice and perhaps even something to strive for.
Wilson became the 28th President and squatted in office from 1913 to 1921. His perceptions and direction influenced and caused several changes in regard to the foundation of this great nation. One could debate the idea that his hate and disregard for the American way of life, was ultimately why he made the decisions he did. A cause and effect scenario must always be applied as history is often the judge of leaders past.
Wilson set out to fundamentally change the foundation with the stroke of a pen. In doing so, it can be debated that he failed his countrymen, his duty, and his office. When given the chance, he destroyed American culture and economic dominance though it was primarily through influence and cause and effect. To his defense, I am sure he had the best of intentions; at least for someone.
This may sound like a bold claim, especially if one were not exposed to Wilson during their education. Wilson literally wanted to extinguish the American Constitution of Individual Rights and separation of powers, and replace it with a “living Constitution” that would provide limitless powers for the government (Folsom, 2011).
Today, of course, it is not hard to see the residual of his actions and influence all over the United States. After all, the federal government is unbelievably large, unbelievably wealthy, and entirely too controlling of the people in which they “serve”. Furthermore, the progressive movement is still alive and well and still very much on the path with the social ideology of the past.
The Constitution of the United States is the key part of this discussion. There are a couple of points that need to be made here. Article I, Section 8, Clause 5 states clearly that “the Congress shall have Power to coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin, and fix the standard of weights and measures”. Article I, Section 10 states clearly that “the states must not make any thing but gold and silver coin a tender in payment of debts”. Still, because of Wilson, these two basic ideas (and others) were destroyed due to the desire of the limitless government.
There are some very specific reasons why it is framed this way. For instance, Thomas Jefferson said that “Bank-paper must be suppressed, and the circulating medium must be restored to the nation to whom it belongs (Jefferson, 1813).” He also said that “… I sincerely believe, with you, that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies; and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale (Jefferson, 1816).”
There are numerous quotes from different founders that reflect the same idea. However, it does not end with the Founders. In fact, Andrew Jackson, who became president in 1828, denounced central banks as an engine of corruption. He spent his entire Presidency trying to destroy the Central Bank of that time. He eventually did. Ironically, the nation thrived for having done so and it was the first and only time in American history that the US was debt-free and when a surplus was realized. That surplus was distributed among the states (Smith, 2011).
There were many reasons for this success, none more noticeable than the idea that America seemed to flourish when a central bank was not in place and when interest was not self-inflicted. Of course, Wilson would not have been able to understand this having never been forced to fight such a monster. Still, Wilson believed that both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution had outlived their usefulness, and he sought to change them (“Woodrow Wilson asks,” 2013). By doing so, he eliminated such protections that future generations (like ours) would need.
Ironically enough, Wilson started out with both political and financial support from the Rockefeller and Morgan bankers. Both of these bankers ended up making unbelievable gains through the actions that would later be made by Wilson. It is not a stretch to find the connections here.
To get to the point, the Federal Reserve Act was enacted December 23, 1913. Essentially it granted a group of banks (instead of the government) the legal authority to issue Federal Reserve Notes (bank paper) as legal tender. I am quite sure that JFK would agree (Please look this up). The Federal Reserve Act was enacted in blatant defiance of the Constitution. The problem, of course, being that the Federal Reserve has little citizen or even congressional oversight, even up to this very day.
According to the Federal Reserve’s website, “The twelve regional Federal Reserve Banks, which were established by Congress as the operating arms of the nation’s central banking system, are organized much like private corporations–possibly leading to some confusion about “ownership.” For example, the Reserve Banks issue shares of stock to member banks. However, owning Reserve Bank stock is quite different from owning stock in a private company. The Reserve Banks are not operated for profit, and ownership of a certain amount of stock is, by law, a condition of membership in the System. The stock may not be sold, traded, or pledged as security for a loan; dividends are, by law, 6 percent per year (FEDRES, 2014)”.
Regardless, in 1913, the 16th Amendment to the Constitution made the income tax a permanent fixture in the US tax system. This, of course, goes entirely against Article 1 Section 2 which states that “Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers”, but it also went against a Supreme Court Ruling that stated that such tax was unconstitutional. Then, of course, the Federal Trade Commission was created in 1914. With the three, you have a triumvirate of unconstitutional and detrimental effects on the foundation.
I suppose the point is that Wilson’s direct and deliberate attacks on the Constitution, paved the road for the “New Deal” and the “War on Poverty” which not only expanded the government to a size most to this day still cannot fathom, but also the utter demise of Constitutional principle and self sustaining capabilities.
It could be argued that Wilson’s desires and influence, which created the Federal Reserve, is directly responsible for the death of the dollar. Since the Federal Reserve came into existence in 1913, the dollar has lost over 95 percent of its value (Pilon, 2009). Today’s dollar is worth less than a nickel compared to the pre-1913 dollar. In fact, (to give you a better idea) in 1964, the minimum wage was $1.25 an hour. In 2013, five 1964 Quarters were worth $19.47. Figure that one out. This has a lot to do with the Federal Reserve’s ability to print money without assets to back them. Regardless, this illustrates its utter failure in achieving its original goals of protecting the soundness of the dollar and to lessen the jarring ups and downs of the business cycle, not to mention many other goals since.
On Feb 6, 2012, Forbes ran a story titled “The Federal Reserve’s Explicit Goal: Devalue The Dollar 33%” (Kadlec, 2012). Essentially, they are devaluing the dollar 33% of what is left out of the 95% they have already destroyed. Still, few want to see the reality of what is about occur.
“Quantitative Easing” is not helping either. In fact, it is destroying what is left. “US equities have passed irrational valuation levels across the bulk of sectors and the market has become uncomfortably close to an unsustainable level that is ripe for a sizable and likely volatile correction. Where we are today is a direct result of the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing program instituted to date” (Eliovits, 2013).
Yes, there is much more to the story, but when asked what leader influenced the failure of an organization or large group because of change that they personally influenced, it is not hard to imagine why no other leader comes to mind stronger than that of Woodrow Wilson.
For clarity on Jackson: had the nation held to the gold and silver standard already addressed in the Constitution, the nation would not have succumbed to the depression that followed the surplus via fiat printing practices by state banks previously.
If you enjoyed this article, you might also like FDR – Will Live In Infamy.
Folsom, B. (2011, October 18). Why was president woodrow wilson important?. Retrieved from http://www.burtfolsom.com/?p=1429
Thomas Jefferson to John Taylor, May 28, 1816, in Ford, 10:31.
Thomas Jefferson to John Wayles Eppes, September 11, 1813, in PTJ:RS, 6:494.
Smith, R. (2011, April 15). When the u.s. paid off the entire national debt (and why it didn’t last). Retrieved from http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2011/04/15/135423586/when-the-u-s-paid-off-the-entire-national-debt-and-why-it-didnt-last
(2013). Woodrow wilson asks “what is progress?”. Heritage Foundation, doi: FP_PS_21
FEDRES. (2014). Who owns the federal reserve?. Retrieved from http://www.federalreserve.gov/faqs/about_14986.htm
Pilon, M. (2009, Jan 29). The buying power of a dollar, on a downswing. Retrieved from http://blogs.wsj.com/wallet/2009/01/28/the-buying-power-of-a-dollar-on-a-downswing/
Kadlec, C. (2012, Feb 06). The federal reserve’s explicit goal: Devalue the dollar 33%. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/charleskadlec/2012/02/06/the-federal-reserves-explicit-goal-devalue-the-dollar-33/
Eliovits, N. (2013, May 27). the coming end of quantitative easing and the ensuing market correction . Retrieved from http://seekingalpha.com/article/1462191-the-coming-end-of-quantitative-easing-and-the-ensuing-market-correction?source=feed