Does Woodrow Wilson Have an Irish Problem, too?

Author: Rebecca Corrente

by Robert Schmuhl

Robert Schmuhl is Walter H. Annenberg-Edmund P. Joyce Chair of American Studies and Journalism at the University of Notre Dame and author of Ireland’s Exiled Children: America and the Easter Rising (Oxford University Press). This article is adapted from his chapter about Woodrow Wilson. 

The more that becomes known of Woodrow Wilson, the less admirable he seems as a political figure and human being. Recent demonstrations by college students raised serious questions about his racial prejudice directed at African Americans.

Although he tried to disguise another bias, an examination of his papers reveals an almost total lack of concern for the Irish Question that demanded an answer during his presidency. With World War I raging, nationalist calls in Ireland grew louder as Great Britain tried to hold together what was then known as the “United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.” Could a U.S. president help solve the decades-old problem?

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