EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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.

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PRESIDENT WILSON INAUGURATED 12:45: VAST VOLUMES OF CHEERING GREET PRESIDENT WHEN HE IS INAUGURATED 2ND TIME

(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.

Prior to Vice-President Marshall's taking the oath in the senate all the cabinet came in and sat beside President Wilson, this dispelling reports of possible cabinet changes. It is the custom for the president to bring only those who will serve in the coming term.

Marshall is the first vice-president to succeed himself since the present elective system was adopted.

Just before President Wilson began his address some one in the crowd started singing "America." The strains were taken up in a mighty chorus resounding over the assemblage. President Wilson smiled.

A cold, strong wind made it impossible for many away from the stand to hear the president speak. He began speaking with his head bared, but put on his hat owing to the cold wind. Many others stood bareheaded.

Prolonging cheers followed the completion of the address.

The crowd was more orderly than usual at inaugurals, the police having no trouble to keep them from pushing to the stand.

The president's carriage was drawn by four horses. Senators Overman and Smith of Georgia rode with President Wilson and his wife. The carriage was entirely surrounded by troops, police and secret service men.

During the march back to the White House people in the reviewing stands rose and cheered the president like fans at a baseball game.

President Wilson made his second inaugural today the occasion for announcing a new world policy for the United States of "co-operation in the wide and universal forces of mankind."

Declaring there are "many things to be done at home," the president added:

"But we realize that the greatest things that remain to be done must be done with the world for a stage. They will follow in the immediate wake of war itself and will get civilization up again.

He continued: "We are provincials no longer. The tragic events of the last thirty months have made us citizens of the world. There can be no turning back." ...

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Also on the front page: In an AP story from Chicago, Dr. Charles J. Kurtz advocates "kissless courtship" in a speech to the YMCA on "How to Choose a Wife."

"He said the way to propose was not, 'Will you be mine?' but 'Are you willing to be the mother of my children?" the report related. "Before propounding this question he said the young woman should be studied and that the mating impulses should be intellect and not love."

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NEXT: Harry Truman