Woodrow Wilson: The Man Who Would Be President  1

Thomas Woodrow Wilson, now fifty-six years old, was a Southerner: he was born in Staunton, Virginia, in 1856. His earliest memory was of being three years old, hearing that Abraham Lincoln had been elected president and that there was going to be a war. Wilson earned his doctorate at Johns Hopkins University in history and political science, and taught constitutional law at Princeton, where he was appointed president of the university in 1902, serving until 1910. As governor of New Jersey he pursued an agenda of progressive reform, introducing worker’s compensation and sidelining the party bosses by introducing presidential electoral primaries. His quick rise to national prominence catapulted his presidential run.

Wilson stepped out onto the wide front porch of his house to face the crowd of reporters camped outside. His acceptance speech was short, and devoid of triumphalism. “The honor is as great as can come to any man by the nomination of a party,” he said, “and I hope I appreciate it at its true value; but just at this moment I feel the tremendous responsibility it involves even more than I feel the honor.”

New York City 2

The New York Times for that day and Wednesday [July 3] noted, “Cuban Revolt Seems Over”; “Houdini’s New Trick, Escapes from Huge Can of Water after Being Locked in Chest”; and “Woodrow Wilson Is Nominated for President.”

The Kingdom of God is pre-existent and, since He is the Creator, without doubt He has always had a creation 3

After the usual morning prayers and thanksgiving to God, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá sent for us and offered thanks and praise to the Most Great Name for the assistance and protection vouchsafed by the Ancient Beauty.

The Master spoke with seekers and visited with friends until noon. After some milk and bread for lunch, He rested for awhile but the friends and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s companions remained to enjoy the generous lunch.

In the afternoon, a prominent gentlemen invited the Master to the Plaza Hotel, which is one of the most elegant hotels and a gathering place for the American elite. We went there to see the building. The Master sat in one of the small rooms. When the manager of the hotel offered to show Him the rest of the hotel, He did not accept. Afterwards the Master said to the friends:

When I see magnificent buildings and beautiful scenery, I contrast them with memories of the prison and of the persecutions suffered by the Blessed Beauty and my heart is deeply moved and I seek to avoid such sightseeing excursions.

Tonight He spoke about God and creation: ‘The Kingdom of God’, He said, ‘is pre-existent and, since He is the Creator, without doubt He has always had a creation.’

  1. Menon, Jonathan. “Woodrow Wilson: The Man Who Would Be President.” 239 Days in America, 3 July 2012, https://239days.com/2012/07/03/the-man-who-would-be-president/. [return]
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 108. [return]
  3. ’Abdu’l-Bahá, and Mirza Mahmud-i-Zarqani. Mahmúd’s Diary: The Diary of Mírzá Mahmúd-i-Zarqání Chronicling ’Abdu’l-Bahá’s Journey to America. Edited by Shirley Macias. Translated by Mohi Sobhani. Oxford: George Ronald, 1998. https://bahai-library.com/zarqani_mahmuds_diary&chapter=5#section100 [return]