Monday, April 15, 2013

Woodrow Wilson modeled his work chiefly on Walter Bagehot

In "The Papers of Woodrow Wilson", Volume 3, Wilson states the following: (page 111)
"I have modelled my work chiefly on Mr. Bagehot's essays on the English Constitution, though I have been guided in some points of treatment by the method followed in some of the better volumes of "Macmillan's admirable "English Citizen Series."

According to an undescript Google Blog page, here:

One major book by Wilson which clearly displayed the strong influence of Bagehot’s political thought was Congressional Government, published in 1885. Wilson never concealed this, and in a letter to his publishers, Houghton, Mifflin & Co, on 4 April 1884, when submitting some sample chapters, he wrote: “I have modelled my work chiefly on Mr Bagehot’s essays on the English Constitution.”

Fortunately, we can go pretty far in verifying this. Using the same book as above, "Papers", Volume 3, still on page 111. The top of the page states it as plain as day, April 4th, 1884. Congressional Government would be published the subsequent year(1885), so I see no reason to have doubt.

For those who take an active interest in the progressive era in general and Woodrow Wilson in particular, it's common knowledge that Wilson was heavily influenced by Bagehot. It's still nice to be able to source it.