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

so declare.

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.

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