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January 18, 2009

Inaugural history: Wilson on the verge of war

WASHINGTON (AP) — Woodrow Wilson made Americans citizens of the world by his words and deed.

The words rang out from his March 5, 1917, inaugural speech. The deed came a month later, when the U.S. declared war on Germany, ending its neutrality in the great conflict in Europe. American power was on the rise and a president who had campaigned to keep his nation out of war now was preparing for it.

"We are provincials no longer," Woodrow told the audience at his second inauguration. "There can be no turning back."

The Associated Press has been going back in history to finds its stories from inauguration days long ago. Here is an excerpt from AP's story on Wilson's inauguration, as it appeared on the front page of the Brownsville (Texas) Daily Herald that Monday, March 5. Also from the front page: A proposal for courtship without love and kisses.



(By Associated Press.)

WASHINGTON, D.C., Mar. 5. — Vast volumes of cheering greeted President Wilson when he was inaugurated at 12:45 o'clock this afternoon for the second time. He issued a solemn warning to the nation against any faction or intrigue to break the harmony or embarrass the spirit of the American people, and called for an America "united in feeling and in purpose, and its vision of duty, of opportunity and of service."

At the conclusion of his address, the president led the inaugural procession back to the White House, where it passed in review before him. Vice President Thomas Riley Marshall was inaugurated in the senate at 12:03.

The president was more carefully guarded during the inaugural ceremonies than any president since Lincoln. It was the first time since the inauguration of Lincoln that troops were used to guard the line of march. Then as now the country was at a great crisis.

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