Friday, February 21, 2014

Who Was Edward M. House? By Robert Higgs | FEDERAL RESERVE SYSTEM (FRS)

House and Wilson in paris

Widely respected for his intellect and political acumen, Colonel Edward House was Woodrow Wilson ís most trusted advisor - until Houseís apparent compromises at the Paris peace treaty negotiations tore their friendship apart.

Colonel Edward House
Colonel Edward House 1858-1938

Born into a wealthy Houston, Texas family in 1858, Edward House's cotton plantations made him financially independent for life. Although he declined public office himself, , House devoted himself to Democratic politics. The title of "Colonel" was honorary, given to him by one of the several Texas governors whose election campaigns House managed. He read widely, observed keenly, and made few enemies. Politicians frequently sought his sage advice. In the fall of 1911, his attention drawn to national politics, House met then-New Jersey governor, Woodrow Wilson.

Like Wilson, the soft-spoken House had been reared in the South in the aftermath of the Civil War. The two men found much in common and became close friends. When Wilson sought the 1912 Democratic Presidential nomination, House helped him secure the crucial backing of William Jennings Bryan. With Wilson elected president, House became his closest adviser, providing Wilson with advice born of years of political experience.

House's chief contribution was in foreign affairs. Informally representing Wilson in Europe in early 1914, House tried to relieve some of the mounting tensions between the various powers. With Europe plunged into war - and with America's neutrality slipping - House advocated preparedness on the home front. Sent to Europe again by Wilson to look for some means of mediation among the belligerents, House attempted to find a "peace without victory" - and failed. With Americaís entry into war, House helped coordinate the American war effort with that of the Allies. At Wilson's urging, he also set up "the Inquiry," a think tank whose suggestions gave rise to Wilson's famous Fourteen Points speech and the concept of a League of Nations.

At the Paris Peace Conference, House appeared to have negotiated away many of these same Fourteen Points in the face of British and French opposition. When Wilson returned from a quick trip to Washington, and realized what House had given up at the table, he was furious. His sense of betrayal was compounded by his first lady, Edith Bolling Galt Wilson, who had disliked House ever since House had opposed her marriage to the president so soon after the death of Wilson's first wife, Ellen. When Wilson, increasingly ill, returned from Europe in 1919, House was frozen out. Wilson completed his presidency and died without seeing him again.

House continued to dabble in high-level democratic politics and published several insider accounts of his experiences in political life until his death in 1938.


Edward M. House, a man now almost completely forgotten, was one of the most important Americans of the twentieth century. Given that most high school seniors do not know that the War Between the States was fought sometime between 1850 and 1900, we cannot reasonably expect many people to recognize his name today, much less to know anything about him. I suspect that scarcely anyone except a smattering of history teachers and a few history mavens can accurately state why House was an important figure in U.S. history. Yet he arguably had a greater impact on the past century than all but a handful of other actors.


... As Hodgson writes, both “Wilson and House were willing to bargain territories and populations for the particular peace they wanted” (106), even if they had to sacrifice “national self-determination” along the way.

After the war began in 1914, Wilson proclaimed that the United States would remain neutral in word and deed, but Wilson and House’s natural inclination was to favor the British, and as various provocations by both sides ensued, the president and his right-hand man dealt with them in a fashion that tilted the United States increasingly toward frank support of the Allies and opposition to the Central Powers. As early as the Lusitania’s sinking in May 1915, House advised Wilson that Americans could “no longer remain neutral spectators” (109), but Wilson moved toward war more hesitantly. When secretary of state Bryan refused to abandon honest neutrality, sensibly holding the British starvation blockade of Germany to be as reprehensible as the German torpedoing of (arms carrying) passenger liners, he was pushed out of the government and replaced by Robert Lansing, From the outset, however, Lansing was allowed little real discretion, and House acted as the de facto foreign minister. A joke went around in Washington:

Question: How do you spell Lansing?
Answer: H-O-U-S-E.

House began to preach “preparedness,” which meant building up a great U.S. army and navy. Hodgson writes: “While the president dreamed of saving the world, House was beginning to contemplate the implications for the American state of being a world power. In this activity between 1915 and 1917 it is not fanciful to see a first, sketchy draft of what would become the national security state”

Wilson - A PortraitAmerica at War
Woodrow Wilson Wilson believed that if the United States could stay out, that we could be the great reconciler, the great mediator. John Milton Cooper, Historian

Woodrow Wilson hoped not to spend too much presidential time on foreign affairs. When Europe plunged into war in 1914, Wilson, who like many Americans believed in neutrality, saw America's role as that of peace broker. The sinking of the passenger liner Lusitania by a German U-boat helped to shatter that hope.

Wilson addressing congress

Wilson demanded an apology from Germany and stayed his neutral course as long as possible. Germany's unrestricted submarine warfare, however, was an intolerable affront to America's dignity and honor. At the start of 1917, British intelligence intercepted the Zimmermann telegram, a secret German communication to Mexico promising United States territory to Mexico in return for supporting the German cause. On April 2, 1917, Wilson finally asked Congress for a formal declaration of war.
The Zimmermann Telegram
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Soldiers and girlfriends

The task Wilson faced was how to mobilize an unprepared America. The government could ask for volunteers and institute a draft to build up the army. But convincing Americans to support the war and feel the will to fight was more difficult. The war effort required propaganda. Wilson launched the Committee for Public Information (CPI), employing a legion of artists and the formative Hollywood film industry to churn out pamphlets, movies and posters depicting Germans as the savage Hun. James Montgomery Flagg drew his famous image of Uncle Sam pointing at the viewer -- the classic "I Want You" army recruitment image. Anything German became suspect - be it a last name, sauerkraut, or Beethoven.

Soldier with gun Once war was declared, Wilson believed the country should get behind the warÖ to continue to oppose the war was a form of treason. Michael Kazin, Historian

As 1917 came to a close, the European Allies, their forces depleted, faced a German offensive designed to win the war before the American troops could arrive. On the Eastern Front, Russia compounded the problem. An ally under the Tsar, it now collapsed in revolution. Its new Bolshevik government sued for peace with Germany. Making matters worse, the Bolshevik leader V. I. Lenin ordered published the Tsar's secret treaties, agreements on how Germanyís possessions were to be divided. To many it was evidence that the war was not about democracy, only the expansion of the Allied countries's imperial ambitions.

War Declared
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Wilson with Dr. Grayson

To counteract this impression, Wilson brought forth his Fourteen Points, a program for a world without imperialism or secret treaties, where self-determination and democracy would flourish, and where the voices of weak nations would be heard as loudly as those of the strong. In Wilson's imagined future, the League of Nations - a global covenant among nations - would peaceably settle future conflicts.
The Inquiry
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Colonel Edward House In Wilson's mind, if the sacrifices of blood that Americans had to pay in World War I were ever going to be justified, it had to be with an outcome that didn't simply end the fighting, but created a new international order.

To President Wilson, the tens of thousands of American troops who crossed the Atlantic to fight alongside the Allies were the battering ram for his Fourteen Points. When Germany, its forces in disarray, offered to end the war on the basis of Wilson's world changing plan, his representative, Colonel Edward House, made the presidentís position clear to the Allies. They could accept the armistice terms, or America would consider a separate peace with Germany. War-weary, the European Allies gave in.

Celebrations erupted around the world as the bloodiest war in the history of mankind came to an end on November 11, 1918.

[sidebar:  Psychopaths are criminally insane.  And, when the position/s of power get to be held via the psychopathic criminally insane, the world is in a constant state of criminal insanity.  This can either continue to be the true situation here in earth, or we change the 'reality' into what the majority imagine.  STOP the criminally insane psychopathic mostly paedophiliacs and known via the insatiable greed of destroying our home, earth.  Apartheid and Genocide are not invisible nor fraud, the horror is really and truly very real.  Enslavement via virtual debt digital credit criminal fraud.  Do we go on strikes?  How does this appear in our earth world of 'consumerism'?]

1 comment:

  1. We in America know the problems and we know the solutions and yet we choose to ignore the situation as though there is a magical tooth fairy to bring us our pillows to sleep on, while we continue in the death slumber.