Why Wilson: A Statement by Social Workers, October 25, 1916


Why Wilson?

A [Statement] By Social Workers

As social workers we believe that Woodrow Wilson should be [reelected] President of the United States.

The rapid changes which are taking place in economic and social conditions in this country, and the many new and unforeseen developments which the war is causing in our industrial and political life, as well as in our international relations, make it imperative that during the next four years there shall be in the white house a man of broad social vision, a man who stands ready, in whatever situations may arise, to initiate and direct politics with regard for the rights, the interests, and the social welfare of the whole people rather than those of any group.

We believe that Woodrow Wilson is such a man. He has shown himself to be truly democratic in his handling of the perplexing problems, both international and domestic, that have arisen during his administration.

1. In Mexico, his stand against aggrandizement by the United States has made possible the growth of popular government and is bringing about an era of sympathetic understanding between the American Republic. [written in left margin] [illegible] a. b. c. d. e. 2

2. In foreign affairs he has stood for a diplomacy of reason and negotiation, with good will toward all peoples, rather than one of bluster and the parade of force. [written in left margin] 1

3. The present administration comes before the country with a social program that carries assurance because of a record of pledges fulfilled and a series of legislative achievements not equaled by any other administration. Prominent among its contributions to social and industrial justice are these:

It has been established as a matter of law that labor is not to be considered a mere commodity or an article of commerce.

The seamen have been made free and have been given the right, previously denied, to leave their employment when conditions become intolerable. [page 2]

<possible enlargement.>

This administration has made certain distinct advances toward more rational international relations.

(a) Treaties with thirty nations have been signed which provide for a year's delay and investigation of matters at issue before diplomatic relations are severed.

(b) The repeal of the Toll Exemptions for American ships in the Panama Canal was a recognition of the principle of fair dealing among nations, which may be a first tentative step toward the internationalization of such highways of the sea such as Dardanelles, the Panama, Suez and Kiel canals.

(c) Determination in spite of almost insuperable difficulties and obvious blunders to permit the Mexicans to work their way to self government without recourse to the old imperialistic method of sending soldiers into a weaker nation, first to police property and then to become an army of occupation.

(d) During the past four years the Pan American Union has been strengthened and made more genuine. The importance of this is not merely local for this Union has seemed to distressed and bewildered students of internationalism in Europe to offer an example of the kind of machinery for international action which is not inconsistent with <a> sound nationalism.

The last three years in Europe have clearly revealed that the international ill will and commercial rivalries which lead to war have been powerfully fostered by prohibitive and preferential tariffs. The liberals in every European country are at present protesting against their continuation or intensification. It therefore seems greatly to be desired that the readjustment which the end of the war will render inevitable in the United States of America, should be made by a tariff commission under an administration predisposed to freer trade relations between the nations. [page 3]

The products of child labor have been excluded from interstate commerce.

The most liberal workmen's compensation law in the world has been enacted affecting 400,000 federal [employees].

The principle of the 8 hour day has been recognized <and>

The Rural Credits Bill and the Federal Reserve Act are contributions to the welfare of the entire country.

4. In his appointments President Wilson has struck a new high level by the naming of such socially minded persons as Louis D. Brandeis to the Supreme Court, Newton D. Baker to a cabinet position, Frederic C. Howe as Immigration Commissioner at New York, and by his retention of Julia C. Lathrop at the head of the Children's Bureau.

Given these facts we favor the [reelection] of Woodrow Wilson.

Jane Addams [signed]

<a> national precedent has been established for the settlement of industrial disputes through legislative enactment rather than by a test of endurance between the contending parties