Thursday, October 25, 2012

'Remarks about Guiseppe Mazzini' and 'Further Remarks in Genoa' by Woodrow Wilson

Before I get to the transcript, here are a few notes:

Giuseppe Mazzini was a revolutionary, as is noted by Woodrow Wilson's very own former home, Princeton University: (second paragraph)

Mazzini was an original, if not very systematic, political thinker. He put forward principled arguments in support of various progressive causes, from universal suffrage and social justice to women's enfranchisement. Perhaps most fundamentally, he argued for a reshaping of the European political order on the basis of two seminal principles: democracy and national self-determination.

What's that you said, Barack Obama Woodrow Wilson? Fundamental transformation?

Mazzini's ideas had an extraordinary appeal for generations of progressive nationalists and revolutionary leaders from his day until well into the twentieth century: his life and writings inspired several patriotic and anticolonial movements in Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East, as well as the early Zionists, Gandhi, Nehru, and Sun Yat-Sen.

Of course, Princeton uses the most flowery verbiage it can. Mazzini participated in the Arab Spring Spring of Nations of 1848(though he earned nothing but scorn from Karl Marx), and is cited on page 1 of Philip Dru, Administrator - that book written by Wilson's main advisor, Edward House. Dru is a manuscript/blueprint for progressivism.

The following words are often times written about under the headlines "Remarks about Guiseppe Mazzini" and "Further Remarks in Genoa". In a publication called The World Court, Volume 5, page 28, Woodrow Wilson's comments are recorded: (1919)

Speaking at the monument of Mazzini, in Genoa January 6, President Wilson said:

"I am very much moved, sir, to be in the presence of this monument. On the other side of the water we have studied the life of Mazzini with almost as much pride as if we shared in the glory of his history, and I am very glad to acknowledge that his spirit has been handed down to us of a later generation on both sides of the water.

It is delightful to me to feel that I am taking some part in accomplishing the realisation of the ideals to which his life and thought were devoted. It is with a spirit of veneration, sir, and with a spirit, I hope, of emulation, that I stand in the presence of this monument and bring my greetings and the greetings of America with our homage to the great Mazzini."


In accepting the gift of Mazzini's works from the municipality, President Wilson said:

"Mr. Mayor, it Is with many feelings of a very deep sort, perhaps too deep for adequate expression, that I find myself in Genoa, which is a natural shrine for Americans. The connections of America with Genoa are so many and so significant that in some sense it may be said that we draw our life and beginnings from this city.

You can realize, therefore, sir, with what emotion I receive the honor which you have so generously conferred upon me in the citizenship of this great city. In a way it seems natural for an American to be a citizen of Genoa and I shall always count it among the most delightful associations of my life that you should have conferred this honor upon me and, in taking away this beautiful edition of the works of Mazzini, I hope that I shall derive inspiration from this volume, as I already have derived guidance from the principles which Mazzini so eloquently expressed.

It is delightful to feel how the voice of one people speaks to another through the mouths of men who have by some gift of God been lifted above the common level and, therefore, these words of your prophet and leader will, I hope, be deeply planted in the hearts of my fellow countrymen. There Is already planted in those hearts, sir, a very deep and genuine affection for the great Italian people, and the thoughts of my nation turn constantly, as we read our history, to this delightful and distinguished city.

May I not thank you, sir, for myself and for Mrs. Wilson and for my daughter for the very gracious welcome you have accorded us, and express my pride and pleasure."


In a short speech at the Columbus monument President Wilson said:

"Standing in front of this monument, sir, I fully recognize the significance of what you have said. Columbus did do a service to mankind in discovering America, and it is America's pleasure and America's pride that she has been able to show that it was a service to mankind to open that great continent to settlement, the settlement of a free people, of a people who, because they are free, desire to see other peoples free and to share their liberty with the people of the world. It is for this reason no doubt, besides his fine spirit of adventure, that Columbus will always be remembered and honored, not only here in the land of his birth, but throughout the world, as the man who led the way to those fields of freedom which, planted with a great seed, have now sprung up to the fructification of the world."

In order to make this easier to read, I put Wilson's words in quotation marks, and I also corrected a misspelling of Mazzini's name.

There is certainly the usual Presidential fluff and generosity within this speech, that all Presidents put into their speeches as a way of fostering international good will. But don't mistake that for the truely progressive ideological honesty on part of Wilson, the parts which I've bolded. Particularly when it comes to Wilson emulating a revolutionary. An honest look at the Wilson years will show that this is an accurate description of his presidency.

Whether or not Wilson had previously read various works of Mazzini isn't specifically mentioned here. But Wilson was clearly influenced by him, as he says. If not his written words, then Wilson was influenced by Mazzini's actions, that being Mazzini as a revolutionary in the 1848 Spring of Nations. Wilson taking cues from Mazzini's actions would... well... bring us right back to the book Philip Dru. A progressive blueprint for revolution. It's all in there.

I hope people won't think I'm projecting and simply drawing an imaginary line that doesn't deserve to be there. "Ed House was Wilson's advisor, who wrote Dru. So what? That doesn't necessarily have to mean anything." According to Woodrow Wilson's biographer Arthur Walworth(Who got a Pulitzer for his Wilson Biographies) Wilson did indeed read the book Philip Dru, Administrator. See page 288 of Walworth's book "Woodrow Wilson". Woodrow Wilson read Philip Dru while on a trip to Bermuda.

Here is the audiobook version of Philip Dru, Administrator.(And transcript) It was my first recording, so take that for what it's worth.

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