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Evaluating US Presidents

Volume 3

Wilson, Harding & Coolidge


by Sanderson Beck

Volume 1: Washington to Lincoln 1789-1865
Volume 2: Andrew Johnson to Taft 1865-1913


      This work endeavors to describe the presidencies and the consequences of the decisions and policies in ethical terms as to how they affected the people of the United States and the world. The effort is not to judge the persons but to evaluate their presidencies. This third volume evaluates three Presidents of the United States from 1913 to 1929. They are Woodrow Wilson, Warren Harding, and Calvin Coolidge.
      Woodrow Wilson takes up most of this volume because I believe he should be recognized as our most important President for showing how many ways we can achieve world peace and a better world. I could not refrain from including highlights of many of his speeches and important speeches in their entirety. Woodrow Wilson is the only US President to earn a Ph.D. He was a brilliant speaker with a very spiritual political philosophy, and he was the first progressive Democrat to be President. Wilson was president of Princeton University and Governor of New Jersey before being US President for eight years. He worked very hard to keep a neutral peace during the world war in Europe, and yet because of German submarine warfare he entered that war to help bring it to an armistice and then became the leading participant in the Peace Conference at Paris in 1919. Republicans to gain political advantage opposed Wilson’s League of Nations that other nations accepted. I am hoping and praying that this work on Wilson will help people to understand what his ideas and plans were for a peaceful and just world that is still eluding us today so that we can work toward universal disarmament, effective international law, and global democracy with equal rights for all.
      Harding and Coolidge have also been under-rated by many presidential historians in my opinion. Warren Harding was a US Senator from Ohio and the first journalist to be President. He got along well with people and was popular. Like Ulysses Grant his reputation was tarnished by the corruption that involved some members of his cabinet. Calvin Coolidge was a successful politician and was Governor of Massachusetts before becoming Harding’s Vice President and successor. Both Harding and Coolidge helped the American economy recover from the huge debt caused by the world war, and Coolidge reduced that debt more than any other US President. Harding coordinated a conference that helped the major naval powers to curtail their spending on armaments, and under Coolidge the United States and France proposed a treaty to renounce war that dozens of nations accepted.
      As a peace activist I am very critical of warmakers especially those who start and perpetuate very unnecessary wars. In my view there are always better ways to solve problems. I agree with Ben Franklin who said there has never been a good war or a bad peace.
      I reserve the right to adjust my rankings as I complete each volume and find out more about the presidents. In this volume I have moved up Woodrow Wilson to #1, Calvin Coolidge to #14, and Warren Harding to #25.
      After reading this Introduction readers may choose to read the last chapter “Summary & Evaluation 1913-1929” before turning to the other chapters for more detailed descriptions of the presidents’ decisions, policies, and their consequences. The evaluation is only on the presidencies though their previous experiences that prepared them to be President are often described, and sometimes significant things they did after being President are briefly mentioned.
      In the ranking I have included the 2021 list compiled by the network C-SPAN based on rankings in ten categories of “leadership characteristics” by 142 historians and professional observers. Their rankings are shown next to mine for each president. My rankings are based on ethical values as to whether the presidential decisions and policies were beneficial or harmful.

Progressive Wilson & Diplomacy 1913-17

Wilson & Education to 1910
Wilson as Governor of New Jersey 1910-12
Wilson’s Campaign for President in 1911
Wilson’s Campaign for President in 1912
President-elect Woodrow Wilson
Wilson’s Progressive Presidency in 1913
Wilson’s Tariff Revision & Federal Reserve Act
Wilson & Foreign Policy in 1913
Wilson & Mexican Revolution in 1913-14
Wilson & Trusts in 1914
Wilson’s Neutrality & the Great War in 1914
Wilson’s Neutrality & the Great War in 1915
Wilson’s Peace Messages in Fall 1915
Wilson & Mexican Revolution in 1915-17
Wilson & the Caribbean 1913-17
Wilson’s Neutral Diplomacy in 1916
Wilson Speaks to a League for Peace in May 1916
Democrats Nominate Wilson Again in 1916
Wilson’s Campaign for Re-election in 1916
Wilson in Late 1916
Wilson’s Essential Peace Speech in 1917
Wilson & Germany’s War Escalation in 1917

Wilson in War & for Peace 1917-1921

Wilson in March 1917
Wilson’s War Declaration on 2 April 1917
Wilson & War in April-June 1917
Wilson & War in July-August 1917
Wilson & War in September-December 1917
Wilson’s War Message on 4 December 1917
Wilson’s 14 Points in January 1918
Wilson & War in February-April 1918
Wilson & War in May-June 1918
Wilson & War in July 1918
Wilson & War in August-September 1918
Wilson & War October to 11 November 1918
Wilson & Peace November-December 1918
Wilson & Peace in January 1919
Wilson’s League of Nations in February 1919
Wilson’s Diplomacy in France in March 1919
Wilson’s Diplomacy in France in April 1919
Wilson’s Diplomacy in France in May 1919
Wilson’s Diplomacy in France in June 1919
Wilson & the Peace Treaty on 10 July 1919
Wilson in Washington in July-August 1919
Wilson’s Tour for the League in September 1919
Wilson & Edith in Fall 1919
Wilson & Edith in 1920
Wilson & Edith in 1921-1924

Republican Harding 1921-23

Harding, Newspapers & Politics to 1914
Harding & the United States Senate 1915-20
Harding Running for President in 1920
Nominee Harding’s Speeches in 1920
Harding’s Election & Cabinet
President Harding’s Inaugural Address
Harding’s Agenda in Spring 1921
Harding’s Speech to Congress in April 1921
President Harding in May-October 1921
Harding in November-December 1921
President Harding in 1922
Harding’s Last Seven Months in 1923

Republican Coolidge 1923-29

Coolidge in School & Politics to 1913
Coolidge in Politics 1914-18
Gov. Coolidge in 1919 & the Boston Police Strike
Coolidge as Governor of Massachusetts in 1920
Vice President Coolidge in 1921-23
President Coolidge in 1923
Coolidge Speech at Howard University in 1924
President Coolidge in 1924
President Coolidge in 1925
President Coolidge in 1926
Coolidge & Latin America
President Coolidge in 1927
Coolidge & the Peace Treaty in 1928

Summary & Evaluation 1913-1929

Woodrow Wilson 1913-1921
Wilson Evaluation
Warren Harding 1921-1923
Harding Evaluation
Calvin Coolidge 1923-1929
Coolidge Evaluation


Volume 1: Washington to Lincoln 1789-1865
Volume 2: Andrew Johnson to Taft 1865-1913

Evaluating US Presidents Ranking and Index

Click here to go to order form page for Evaluating US Presidents volumes by Sanderson Beck.

History of Peace Volume 1
History of Peace Volume 2

World Chronology
Chronology of America

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