The Woodrow Wilson Story Essay, Research Paper
The Woodrow Wilson Story
In September, 1919, Wilson suffered a paralytic shot which limited
his hereafter activity. After the presidential term, he lived on in retirement in
Washington, deceasing February 3, 1924.
Information Please Almanac.
( Most history books are every bit uninformative about Wilson & # 8217 ; s unwellness. )
The Twenty-fifth Amendment, covering with Presidential disablement,
becomes portion of the U.S. Constitution. It provides that the
Vice-President becomes Acting President if the President declares
himself handicapped, or if the Vice-President and a bulk of the Cabinet
Adopted February 10, 1967
Diseases need heroes: work forces or adult females who have triumphed despite the disease. For
the kid with infantile paralysis, one could ever indicate to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who
campaigned on leg braces to go governor of New York and so president of
the United States. For epilepsy, there is ever Joan of Arc or Napoleon. The blind
and deaf have Helen Keller. Woodrow Wilson provides a likewise inspiring narrative for
both dyslexia and shot victims & # 8211 ; but the narrative of his last two old ages in office provides
a distressing illustration of how encephalon harm can impact judgement and even barricade penetration
into one & # 8217 ; s ain disablements.
Wilson had dyslexia in childhood. Imagine non larning your letters until age 9, non
reading until age 12, being a slow reader all your life. Rather than being a prescription
for a life as a nonintellectual ditchdigger, this was portion of the background of a adult male
who became a professor at Princeton University and the writer of a popularly
acclaimed book on George Washington.
When Professor Wilson was 39, he suffered a minor shot that left him with
failing of the right arm and manus, centripetal perturbations in the tips of several
fingers, and an inability to compose in his usual right-handed mode. As frequently happens
following minor shots, there was recovery: his right-handed authorship ability returned
within a twelvemonth.
Was his calling impeded? No, in 1902 he became the president of Princeton. But
the job recurred in 1904. In 1906 it happened once more, this clip with sightlessness in
the left oculus ( besides supplied by the left internal carotid arteria, which is likely where
coagulums were arising which plugged up assorted little arterias in the left oculus and left
encephalon ) . While the right arm failing went off, Wilson had adequate harm to his
left oculus that he could ne’er read with it once more. Some think that his judgement was
impaired in the undermentioned old ages & # 8211 ; his efforts to reform Princeton academe were
frequently impractical. By 1910 he was basically being forced out of his presidential term by
the legal guardians.
But no affair & # 8211 ; in 1910 Wilson was elected the governor of New Jersey. Bing a
university president is non the usual path to such an office ( from being a fauna
professor at the University of Washington, Dixie Lee Ray went on to go
governor & # 8211 ; but her stepping rocks were places as Nixon & # 8217 ; s president of the Atomic
Energy Commission and Assistant Secretary of State, non the presidential term of the
university! ) . From the governorship, Wilson began his successful run for
president of the United States. He won the Democratic nomination after a drawn-out
competition, on the 46th ballot.
During the run in 1912, Governor Wilson once more suffered from mild and
impermanent neurological jobs ( now called Transient Ischemic Attacks, or TIAs,
they are minor shots without noticeable permanent effects ) . And, a month after his
startup, President Wilson had an episode where his left arm and manus were
weak. All of the old right-sided problems had implicated the left side of the encephalon.
Now it appeared that the right encephalon was besides being damaged by intellectual vascular
disease. But he one time once more recovered, an inspiration to the 2.5 million shot victims
in the U.S. who must get by with their miscellaneous disablements.
During his first term, President Wilson suffered from serious concerns
accompanied by high blood force per unit area. The concerns became peculiarly bad at the
clip of the Lusitania sinking by a German Submarine in l915. Were they merely tenseness
concerns, or possibly neurological symptoms? He was re-elected to a 2nd term
in 1916, but suffered a figure of TIAs during the following two old ages as American
engagement grew in & # 8220 ; the & # 8221 ; universe war.
Edwin A. Weinstein, the neurology professor who wrote the authoritative
Woodrow Wilson: A Medical and Psychological Biography, besides notes that
President Wilson & # 8220 ; grew more leery, close, and egocentric. & # 8221 ; An occupational
jeopardy of the presidential term & # 8211 ; or a alteration in personality ensuing from encephalon harm?
The U.S. Constitution has since been amended to supply for presidential disablement in
office, but what brain doctor would be brave adequate to declare a president disabled
from such a history?
If Woodrow Wilson & # 8217 ; s encephalon had suffered no farther harm, the history of the
following decennaries could hold been really different. For Wilson in 1916 wanted
Germany defeated but non crushed ; he wanted Germany to be a feasible member of
the proposed League of Nations. He was convinced that a determined peace Uwould
be accepted in humiliation, under duress, at an unbearable forfeit, and that would
go forth a sting, a bitterness, a acrimonious memory upon which the footings of peace would
remainder, non for good, but merely as upon quicksand. & # 8221 ; The overthrow of the Kaiser in
1918 and his replacing by a democratic authorities raised Wilson & # 8217 ; s hopes for
rehabilitating Germany. At the 1919 peace conference in Paris, he argued against
Gallic attempts to seek the ex-Kaiser and to demand punitory reparations.
But so President Wilson all of a sudden took ailment during the conference: he had
emesis, high febrility, and the other marks of holding caught the grippe which was
brushing Europe and subsequently much of the universe. It turned out that the virus had
affected his respiratory system, bosom, encephalon, and prostate. Indeed, judging from some
of the mental symptoms ( his top adjutant noted that, merely overnight, Wilson & # 8217 ; s personality
changed ) , Wilson may hold suffered another shot at this clip or, as Dr. Weinstein
suggests, have besides caught the often associated virus of phrenitis lethargica
( this is the virus whose victims frequently developed Parkinson & # 8217 ; s disease old ages subsequently,
Oliver Sacks wrote about them in Awakenings ) .
Even before the grippe onslaught, his compulsion with secretiveness was pronounced:
none of the other American peace commissioners were secluded to President Wilson & # 8217 ; s
believing. Bedridden, Wilson became haunted with being overheard, with guarding
his documents. In add-on to the paranoia, he became euphoric and about manic at
times following the bedfast stage of the unwellness. He even became socially surpassing
in ways rather uncharacteristic of the usually untalkative Wilson.
But most contact was Wilson & # 8217 ; s alteration in attitude toward the Germans: now he
himself proposed that the former Emperor be tried. Whereas he had antecedently
insisted that the German delegates be granted full diplomatic privileges at the
conference, now he was disdainful of them. Herbert Hoover, who was at that place,
noted the alteration in Wilson & # 8217 ; s behaviour: before the grippe, Wilson was willing to
listen to advice, was acute, speedy to hold on necessities and unhesitating in his
decisions. Afterward, he had oversights in memory, he groped for thoughts, he was
obsessed with & # 8220 ; precedents. & # 8221 ;
To inquire our Twenty-fifth Amendment inquiry once more, it seems likely that modern
doctors would be able to name the encephalon harm taking to such a personality
alteration. They would likely urge to their patient that he voluntarily step
down. But on such grounds, would they have been able to carry the Vice
President and a bulk of the Cabinet to coerce the President to step aside? One can
conceive of the treatment in the Cabinet as the brain doctors tried to educate them on
how encephalon harm can modify and impact judgement. Those non acquainted with
neurologically induced personality alterations would be more likely to concentrate on
interwoven issues that they understood better & # 8211 ; political issues such as the proper
attitude toward the Germans, for illustration, or the allowances that must be made for
people under emphasis.
It is difficult to appreciate personality alterations due to encephalon harm until you & # 8217 ; ve seen
such a patient, before and after. The first 1 I of all time saw was a adult male whose caput had
been injured in a auto accident the twenty-four hours before ; one temporal lobe ( at least ) was
swollen as a consequence of the concussion. On the door to the patient & # 8217 ; s room, the nurses
had posted a mark: & # 8220 ; Do non give this patient matches! & # 8221 ; It wasn & # 8217 ; t that smoke was
prohibited & # 8211 ; he was badly lighting lucifers and throwing them around the
room. There was nil lethargic about this adult male: he was bright-eyed, aggressive
with the physicians, badgering the nurses, and by and large moving like a crewman in port looking
for a good clip. Could he hold walked, it would certainly hold been with a swagman.
Possibly fortuitously, he besides had a big plaster dramatis personae on one leg ; otherwise, it might
have been hard to carry him to stay in the infirmary where his encephalon puffiness
could be controlled.
One hebdomad subsequently when once more halting in to analyze all the patients on the
neurosurgical service, I saw a adult male with an indistinguishable encephalon hurt. This adult male was mild,
most hesitating in his traffics with the staff, a quiet unnoticeable psyche who normally
averted his eyes when speaking with anyone. After we left the room, I commented that
the brain surgeons & # 8217 ; celebrity must hold spread, that they were surely being sent one
temporal-lobe bruise patient after another. No, the go toing brain surgeon said
with a smiling, that adult male was the same patient that I had seen the old hebdomad. I was
excessively astonished to mind that I had fallen into a neatly laid trap which had likely
been sprung upon a six insuffficiently observant medical pupils and
occupants already that hebdomad. But which was his existent personality? The present meek
one. His household had, of class, been perplexed by the alteration and had told the
doctors what his existent personality was similar. So now they knew that their patient was
acquiring back to normal. And, mirabile dictu, he could besides walk once more & # 8211 ; there was no
longer a dramatis personae on the leg! But most instances of personality alteration are non this dramatic,
nor can most be treated with a leg dramatis personae and water pills. President Wilson & # 8217 ; s is a more
typical instance & # 8211 ; though, because of his place, holding wider branchings.
President Wilson returned place with a pact set uping the League of Nations.
His efforts to acquire the U.S.
Senate to sign it were gawky and autocratic, non the
actions of a skilled politician used to covering with the Congress. Frustrated after five
months, he decided to take his instance straight to the people. Within a few yearss after
shiping upon a talking circuit of the West in September 1919, he had developed
dual vision ( this normally isn & # 8217 ; t either left or right hemisphere but suggests problem in
the encephalon root ) . Wilson insisted on go oning on the speech production circuit, and several
hebdomads subsequently, he became paralyzed on his left side: an unmistakable mark of
right-hemisphere malfunction. Another hebdomad subsequently, after returning to the White House,
he suffered a monolithic right-hemisphere shot. He lost vision in the left ocular field
which, because of the old problem with the left oculus, left him with vision from merely
one-half of one oculus ( this is one of those unusual sets of facts which we inflict upon
medical pupils in a neuroanatomy quiz, to see if they can calculate out that there must
have been two separate jobs instead than the usual 1 ) . Wilson could experience
nil on the left side of his organic structure, besides non being able to travel it voluntarily.
Indeed he wholly neglected the left side of his organic structure.
Though the linguistic communication maps of Wilson & # 8217 ; s left hemisphere were non affected by
the right-hemisphere shot, his voice ne’er regained the emotional inflexions and
resonance of his earlier old ages ; this facet of address ( called inflection ) is now known
to be controlled preponderantly by the right hemisphere.
His right-hemisphere shot besides produced a funny consequence: Wilson denied he had
suffered a shot. If you have non antecedently encountered the denial-of-illness
syndrome, you may happen this unbelievable. How could person whose left organic structure was
paralyzed deny that something had happened? He so considered himself
absolutely fit to be President ( he fired his secretary of province, who had dared to name a
Cabinet meeting to discourse the unwellness with the President & # 8217 ; s doctor ) .
This denial-of-illness syndrome is characteristic of right parietal-lobe harm ;
some patients will even deny that their left arm and leg are portion of their ain organic structure.
Wilson simply referred to himself as & # 8220 ; lame. & # 8221 ; His spacial sense was disturbed: when
the Secret Service took him out for a thrust around town, Wilson insisted they drive
really easy and so demanded that the Secret Service pursuit and collar a driver who
passed them & # 8211 ; for hurrying!
Had the Constitutional amendment on Presidential disablement been in consequence in
September 1919, Wilson & # 8217 ; s physicians should hold been able to declare Wilson unfit to
carry out presidential responsibilities. But would they have done so? Like others, they could
have been drawn into an luxuriant cover-up to continue presidential authorization. The
history of Wilson & # 8217 ; s unwellness gives us no soothing reassurance about how either the
White House insiders or the physicians would hold performed. The President & # 8217 ; s
doctor, Cary T. Grayson, was asked by Secretary of State Lansing to subscribe a
certification of disablement four yearss after the monolithic shot, but he refused. In February
1920, when the White House was publishing glowing studies on the President & # 8217 ; s wellness
and abilities, a distinguished sawbones, Hugh H. Young, reported to the imperativeness. He said
that the President had suffered merely a little damage of his left arm and leg and that
& # 8220 ; the utmost energy and clarity of his mental procedures had non abated in the slightest
grade. . . he is in better form than before the illness. & # 8221 ; Dr. Young summarized by
stating that & # 8220 ; you can state that the President is able-minded and able-bodied, and that
he is giving glorious attending to the personal businesss of state. & # 8221 ;
Dr. Weinstein & # 8217 ; s first-class life notes that at the clip of Dr. Young & # 8217 ; s
statement, President Wilson & # 8217 ; s left arm was useless, he could hardly walk, he could
non keep himself upright so as to work at a desk, he could non read more than a few
lines at a clip, he was capable to effusions of pique and cryings, and his periods of
alertness alternated with periods of lassitude and backdown. And that President
Wilson still insisted that he was simply feeble.
Who ran the authorities? Gene Smith, in his book When the Cheering
Stopped, says that the President & # 8217 ; s married woman and physicians did & # 8212 ; and that pandemonium and
secretiveness reigned. Remember, this is non a scientific discipline fiction narrative, nor a pretend
White House thriller: this is the narrative of Woodrow Wilson & # 8217 ; s last two old ages in the
White House. It non merely happened, but it has merely late made it into the history
books: about all the books on Wilson reference none of this medical history, either
from an ignorance of neurology ( it was merely & # 8220 ; flu & # 8221 ; followed by a & # 8220 ; paralytic shot & # 8221 ; ) or
from the permanent effects of the cover-up conducted by Wilson & # 8217 ; s White House insiders.
If the history books omit such a important event so that we can non larn from it, how
can we avoid reiterating such history?
The pact fall ining the U.S. to the League of Nations was defeated in the Senate,
stultifying the League. Dr. Weinstein & # 8217 ; s sentiment is that Wilson & # 8217 ; s shot is what made the
difference: & # 8220 ; It is about certain that had Wilson non been so stricken, his political accomplishments
and his installation with linguistic communication would hold bridged the spread & # 8221 ; between the two opposing
sides in the Senate, much as he had done on other occasions predating the Paris trip.
President Wilson persisted in his attempt to win renomination for a 3rd term.
Pictures appeared before the 1920 Democratic convention demoing Wilson in right
profile ( the left side of his face was paralyzed ) seated at a desk keeping a pen. But
Wilson had no support. The Democratic party leaders prevented his name from being
placed in nomination ; James M. Cox and Franklin Delano Roosevelt were nominated
for president and frailty president. The Republican campaigner, Warren Gamaliel Harding,
won the election with the biggest landslide ballot in recorded history. He has been
described in retrospect as a & # 8220 ; handsome and affable adult male, undiscriminating in his
associates, missing in political thoughts or fortitude. . . wholly unfitted for the
presidency. & # 8221 ; American historiographers, when polled on who was the worst president in
history, on a regular basis choice Harding.
Many feel that some effects of Wilson & # 8217 ; s unwellness outlived his presidential term ( he
completed his term of office and lived until 1924, lasting Harding ) and were to be
seen in the events of the following decennaries & # 8211 ; in the black German rising prices of the
1920s during the reparations exacted by the Allies, in the resulting reaction to societal
upset which led to the rise of the genocidal Nazis, and in a 2nd universe war. All
had multiple causes, but the pre-influenza Wilson anticipated many. Woodrow
Wilson was a great broad and reformist, the first universe leader to fire the multitudes with
a vision of universe peace, and a brave individual who repeatedly conquered the
afflictions of his chronic intellectual vascular disease. At a critical occasion in history, his
encephalon failed him & # 8211 ; but non evidently plenty to take him from office and Lashkar-e-Taiba others
take up the reins. During the last two old ages of his term following the Paris unwellness,
Woodrow Wilson was unfit to take the United States. He no longer had the same
judgement and personality as the adult male whom the electors had elected.
Merely as a attorney tries to cover all the improbable heritage possibilities when
pulling up a will, so lawgivers must seek to supply for an orderly sequence when
the holder of a critical office is disabled & # 8211 ; which can go on in a figure of ways.
Would the Twenty-fifth Amendment, which seems so unequal to cover with
Wilson & # 8217 ; s earlier jobs, have covered the concluding Wilson calamity?
Even if brain doctors could name a serious alteration in perceptual abilities or in
personality, could they convert the President to voluntarily step aside? What
happens when a strongwilled President & # 8217 ; s judgement, like Wilson & # 8217 ; s, is clouded by his
unwellness? Judging from the trouble that doctors have in carrying ordinary patients
with right-parietal-lobe harm that they are sick, the doctors would likely hold
been rebuffed. Could they so convince the Vice President and a bulk of the
Cabinet to advise Congress that the President was disabled? The Twenty-fifth
Amendment seems to presume that either a President will be rational plenty to
declare disablement personally, or that the President will be in coma, unable to interfere
in the Cabinet & # 8217 ; s determination. Suppose that, like Wilson, a President were to fire the
oppugning Cabinet members foremost? The Twenty-fifth Amendment would look non to
cover the most serious and most drawn-out Presidential disablement yet encountered in
more than two centuries and 40 Presidents. It remains to be seen if the
Constitution & # 8217 ; s disablement commissariats function any better than those of the Divine Right
of Kings ( which allowed George III & # 8211 ; the bete noire of the American settlers & # 8211 ; to
regulation England for many decennaries while insane on and off, even confined to a
straitjacket at times ) .
Neurology was established as a medical forte in the 19th century by a
series of great physician-investigators, but the acknowledgment of elusive rational shortages
in shot patients was merely get downing in Wilson & # 8217 ; s clip. Because such & # 8220 ; higher
maps & # 8221 ; can non be studied easy in experimental animate beings, advancement has been slow in
comparing to other countries of encephalon research. In 1920 a singular epoch began, during
which the person nervus cells have been explored, the physiological reactions extensively studied,
great inroads made into understanding the maps of sensory and motor systems,
and many specialised cortical countries identified. We now know more about
developmental dyslexia, from which Wilson ab initio suffered, and about recovery of
map after shots, which permitted Wilson to retrieve from his many earlier
shots so successfully. We now have diagnostic techniques such as computerized
tomographic ( CT ) scans and magnetic resonance imagination ( MRI ) which would hold
detected much of Wilson & # 8217 ; s encephalon harm. We have curative techniques such as
vascular surgery which, if performed at age 39 after Wilson & # 8217 ; s first shot, might hold
cleaned out the arterial liner jobs in the carotids which likely formed the
Yet we still lack a organic structure of dependable physiological and anatomical facts with which
to understand personality alteration and denial of unwellness. One must trust more on the art
of the experient doctor in such instances, non on the difficult facts of scientific discipline dispensed
by machines. But it is non clear whether even the most adept of modern doctors
would be able to protect the universe from the effects of a similar encephalon
malfunction in a modern president.