John Milton Cooper discusses Wilson and Wilsonianism

The next seminar in the on-going weekly seminar series jointly co-sponsored by the National History Center and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars features John Milton Cooper, Jr., Fox Professor of American Institutions at the University of Wisconsin. The seminar is entitled “Wilson versus Wilsonianism–with Advice for President Obama” and will be on Monday, February 22, 2010 at 4:00 pm at the Wilson Center, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC.

Professor Cooper states that it is instructive to recapture the real Wilson. Marx once said, “I’m no Marxist, just Karl Marx.” So too with Wilson, “I’m no Wilsonian, just Woodrow Wilson.” In foreign policy this self-proclaimed disciple of Edmund Burke became the avatar of unrealistic idealism and religion-based messianism. For President Obama, the pertinent advice would be a paraphrase of Robert Frost’s injunction to John Kennedy, “Be more Irish than Harvard”–“Be more Wilson than Wilsonian.”

Cooper’s work has centered on the first two decades of the twentieth century in the United States. He has written studies of American isolationism and World War I, the fight over the League of Nations, a biography of Walter Hines Page, a comparative biography of Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, and, most recently, a biography of Wilson.

Video is available for this seminar.

This weekly seminar is a part of the Weekly History Center on Historical Perspectives on International and National Affairs. Click here to see a complete listing of the schedule of speakers and topics, as well as videos of the presentations.