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View Poll Results: Who would you have voted for?
Woodrow Wilson 2 18.18%
Charles Evans Hughes 7 63.64%
Someone else (please specify) 2 18.18%
Voters: 11. You may not vote on this poll

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Old June 13th, 2018, 05:29 PM   #1

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Presidential Election: 1916


Who would you have supported in the 1916 U.S. presidential election?

For reference, here is the Wikipedia article about this:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United..._fall_campaign

In short: The incumbent U.S. President Woodrow Wilson ran on an anti-war platform. Meanwhile, Charles Evans Hughes (the challenger and a former New York Governor and Chief Justice) ran on a platform of "preparedness"--though he did not openly advocate going to war against either Germany or Mexico (rather, he simply believed that the U.S. has to be more prepared just in case war will come to it). Wilson also appears to have been somewhat more progressive than Hughes was--as evidenced by Hughes's critique of various pro-labor laws passed during Wilson's Presidency. However, it is worth noting that Hughes also appears to have had a reputation as a progressive back when he was New York Governor. Thus, their difference in regards to this might not have been that great.

As for me, I would have probably voted for Hughes. Basically, I think that more preparedness is a good idea (just in case the U.S. will have to fight somewhere), and I also would have sympathized with the Entente in World War I--especially with their desire to break up Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire. Indeed, I would think that, if we did end up getting into World War I, Hughes would be less likely to screw up the handling of the war as well as the handling of the post-World War I peace.

I mean, I would have sympathized with Wilson's anti-war slogan since I wouldn't have wanted to get killed myself, but I would have still voted for Hughes since I would have wanted the U.S. to help shape a better order in Europe.

As for with hindsight, I would have voted for Hughes hands-down since Wilson really, really botched the post-World War I aftermath. Specifically, that idiot Wilson refused to push for a U.S. treaty of alliance with Britain and France (the "security treaty," if you will--indeed, Lloyd Ambrosius wrote a lot about this) and instead foolishly gambled everything on having the U.S. Senate agree to enter the League of Nations on his own terms. Indeed, I would call Wilson's actions in regards to this pure lunacy considering that they left Britain and France to fend for themselves and prevented the U.S. from playing a larger role in Europe in the years after the end of World War I.
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Old June 14th, 2018, 04:40 AM   #2

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With hindsight, I DEFINITELY would have supported Hughes, as the main part of Wilson's platform for running again ended up being a complete sham just 6 months afterwards, and barely a month into his second term.

Without hindsight, I still probably would have supported Hughes, because he seemed like a very intelligent and forward-thinking statesman who likely would have been a productive president. He may have lacked TR's spark, but aside from that he seemed a Progressive Republican in a similar vein, and more comfortable in the Presidency than someone like Taft (who was at least good on trust-busting but poor on conservation, whereas Hughes had potential for some good in both), in spite of the judicial backgrounds of both of them.

Though Futurist, you're honestly being somewhat harsh on Wilson regarding the aftermath of WW1. While his execution may have been flawed, Wilson did at least prove himself to be a forward-thinking visionary on matters of U.S. diplomacy and grand strategy, presaging the American role on the world stage over 2 decades later that his immediate successors could renege on temporarily but which could never truly be reversed in the long-term, for better or worse. The uncontrollable factor of Wilson's stroke and resulting incapacitation also didn't help him one bit. The last years of his presidency would likely have turned out better had he been able to be more involved personally.

Last edited by nuclearguy165; June 14th, 2018 at 04:51 AM.
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Old June 14th, 2018, 08:29 AM   #3

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We are having the Presidential party at two houses now?

Futurist... opening this particular poll was a one-off idea?
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Old June 14th, 2018, 08:56 AM   #4

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I will likely wait to hear DIVUS' input before I vote since he's our most eloquent defender of Wilson, but given Wilson's virulent segregationism, failed interventions in Latin America, and crackdown on civil liberties during the war, my sympathies are definitely leaning towards Hughes.
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Old June 14th, 2018, 09:16 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Viperlord View Post
I will likely wait to hear DIVUS' input before I vote since he's our most eloquent defender of Wilson, but given Wilson's virulent segregationism, failed interventions in Latin America, and crackdown on civil liberties during the war, my sympathies are definitely leaning towards Hughes.
With Hindsight he DOES have a stroke that pretty much ends his presidency in this term as well.
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Old June 14th, 2018, 12:26 PM   #6

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Quote:
Originally Posted by nuclearguy165 View Post
With hindsight, I DEFINITELY would have supported Hughes, as the main part of Wilson's platform for running again ended up being a complete sham just 6 months afterwards, and barely a month into his second term.
Yep.

Also, interestingly enough, staying out of the war would have probably been better than the half-assed way in which Wilson actually handled the war and especially the war's aftermath.

Quote:
Without hindsight, I still probably would have supported Hughes, because he seemed like a very intelligent and forward-thinking statesman who likely would have been a productive president. He may have lacked TR's spark, but aside from that he seemed a Progressive Republican in a similar vein, and more comfortable in the Presidency than someone like Taft (who was at least good on trust-busting but poor on conservation, whereas Hughes had potential for some good in both), in spite of the judicial backgrounds of both of them.
I agree with this.

Quote:
Though Futurist, you're honestly being somewhat harsh on Wilson regarding the aftermath of WW1. While his execution may have been flawed, Wilson did at least prove himself to be a forward-thinking visionary on matters of U.S. diplomacy and grand strategy, presaging the American role on the world stage over 2 decades later that his immediate successors could renege on temporarily but which could never truly be reversed in the long-term, for better or worse.
Yes, Wilson was certainly forward-thinking. However, his refusal to compromise with Republicans in 1919-1920 ended up screwing over Britain and France due to the fact that they ended up being deprived of the U.S. security guarantee that they were promised.

As Lloyd Ambrosius wrote, the Republicans in the U.S. Congress were willing to enter the League of Nations with reservations and agree to a U.S. treaty of alliance with Britain and France after the end of World War I (in spite of George Washington's advice 123 years earlier against entering into foreign alliances). However, Wilson foolishly refused to take them up on this offer and instead waged a quixotic fight on having the U.S. enter the League of Nations on his terms. When his fight failed, everything went up in smoke.

It didn't have to be this war. Rather, Wilson could have compromised with the Republicans in the U.S. Congress (especially in the U.S. Senate). That way, Britain and France would have had a U.S. security guarantee and the U.S. would have been at least slightly more involved and engaged in Europe in the years after the end of World War I.

Quote:
The uncontrollable factor of Wilson's stroke and resulting incapacitation also didn't help him one bit. The last years of his presidency would likely have turned out better had he been able to be more involved personally.
Frankly, I'm not so sure about that. Wilson had a problem with the Lodge Reservations even before his stroke and his strained relations with Senator Lodge would have likely prevented him from accepting any sort of compromise in regards to this in any case--as in, with or without his stroke.
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Old June 14th, 2018, 12:27 PM   #7

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Originally Posted by Kotromanic View Post
We are having the Presidential party at two houses now?
Yes.

Quote:
Futurist... opening this particular poll was a one-off idea?
Yes.
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Old June 14th, 2018, 01:02 PM   #8
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Most of these elections for me I'd vote the straight ticket, Federalist, Whig, Republicans up until Bryan and TR whoever's more progressive but here it gets really tricky. Wilson is the more anti war candidate but a war with either candidate was probably inevitable but Wilson's desire to remake the world was purely unique, Hughes would have probably have simply pushed for the US to be at the old great power table rather than try to remake the international system and I think the world would be better off as a result, especially in the short term. The example with the clearest causation is Wilson pushing the Italians towards Fascism by pressuring the British and French to not honor their treaty obligations(though he did end up unintentionally hurting Hitler down the line, if we could prevent the rise of both that would be nice).

However Hughes opposed the 16th amendment and eight hour workday(mostly) and while he wasn't a conservative by the days standards he certainly was a conservative by New Dealer standards. Wilson on the other hand had the New Freedom, the biggest post Lincoln pre New Deal legislative agenda and while I disagree some of it, most of it I agree with very strongly, especially the Clayton Act.

Now finally Wilson is just the most racist President in post Civil War US History and is the only US President to be born a CSA citizen. Hughes was a relatively good person especially by the standards of the age. He was also more qualified and ended up being a great Secretary of State and is largely responsible for a previously unfavorably viewed Warren Harding getting a second look by historians.

Wilson being an academic rather than a politician and being the rare academic in a position to try and put his vision into practice is having drastic negative effects on the US and the world to this day and I'm voting Hughes in the hope it turns back the clock on this. Hughes probably enters the war anyway but hey maybe somehow we don't enter the war and the Central Powers win, why not open the door we didn't go through IRL? All the negatives with Hughes I see on domestic policy are not only the lesser of two evils IMO(we get trickle down economics in the 1920s regardless) but a lot of it had been passed already and seeing his status as a moderate progressive most of it probably sticks. 1912 would have voted Wilson over TR because I'd have the option to help prevent most of what I see as the negatives of his administration in four years while keeping what I see as the positives.

So I'm voting Hughes.

Last edited by Emperor of Wurttemburg 43; June 14th, 2018 at 01:06 PM.
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Old June 14th, 2018, 01:16 PM   #9

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Originally Posted by Futurist View Post
Yep.

Also, interestingly enough, staying out of the war would have probably been better than the half-assed way in which Wilson actually handled the war and especially the war's aftermath.



I agree with this.



Yes, Wilson was certainly forward-thinking. However, his refusal to compromise with Republicans in 1919-1920 ended up screwing over Britain and France due to the fact that they ended up being deprived of the U.S. security guarantee that they were promised.

As Lloyd Ambrosius wrote, the Republicans in the U.S. Congress were willing to enter the League of Nations with reservations and agree to a U.S. treaty of alliance with Britain and France after the end of World War I (in spite of George Washington's advice 123 years earlier against entering into foreign alliances). However, Wilson foolishly refused to take them up on this offer and instead waged a quixotic fight on having the U.S. enter the League of Nations on his terms. When his fight failed, everything went up in smoke.

It didn't have to be this war. Rather, Wilson could have compromised with the Republicans in the U.S. Congress (especially in the U.S. Senate). That way, Britain and France would have had a U.S. security guarantee and the U.S. would have been at least slightly more involved and engaged in Europe in the years after the end of World War I.



Frankly, I'm not so sure about that. Wilson had a problem with the Lodge Reservations even before his stroke and his strained relations with Senator Lodge would have likely prevented him from accepting any sort of compromise in regards to this in any case--as in, with or without his stroke.
I'll let DIVUS tune in on this some, though you may be essentially correct in believing that Wilson had little ability to compromise. Then again, neither did Clemenceau of France, naturally aggrieved with Germany. Wilson seems to have possessed genuine vision but tried to see that vision brought to light through a flawed mind-set that lacked the ability to compromise on any of his principles for the sake of diplomacy. I can definitely see Hughes being MUCH better at doing this.

Yeah, the stroke likely wasn't the decisive factor by any means, but it probably prevented him from being better able to learn from and understand his political and diplomatic foes, and ultimately adapt. No guarantee that would have happened, far from it, but it can't be ruled out.
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Old June 14th, 2018, 03:11 PM   #10

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Quote:
Originally Posted by nuclearguy165 View Post
I'll let DIVUS tune in on this some, though you may be essentially correct in believing that Wilson had little ability to compromise. Then again, neither did Clemenceau of France, naturally aggrieved with Germany. Wilson seems to have possessed genuine vision but tried to see that vision brought to light through a flawed mind-set that lacked the ability to compromise on any of his principles for the sake of diplomacy. I can definitely see Hughes being MUCH better at doing this.

Yeah, the stroke likely wasn't the decisive factor by any means, but it probably prevented him from being better able to learn from and understand his political and diplomatic foes, and ultimately adapt. No guarantee that would have happened, far from it, but it can't be ruled out.
For what it's worth, though, Clemenceau appears to have been more willing to compromise than Wilson was. After all, Clemenceau agreed to give up France's claim to the Saar and to the Rhineland in exchange for Anglo-American security guarantees--guarantees that failed to be actualized as a result of Wilson's stupidity and blundering.
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