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Woodrow Wilson, the Romantic?

9:37 AM, May 14, 2011 • By EMILY SCHULTHEIS
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In case you missed it, check out Kevin Kosar’s review of Ellen and Edith: Woodrow Wilson’s First Ladies, from the May 9th issue. He reintroduces us to the man who championed the League of Nations through the lens of his relationships with his wives:

What I want is a word that describes a man who passionately loves a woman but remains his own person For some time I have been struggling to find a near-synonym for “uxorious.” It is an ugly old word that rebukes a man for being “overly fond” (Webster’s) or “submissively fond” (OED) of his wife. Its earliest written usage (1598), by Joseph Hall, bishop of Norwich and poet, growled of “mannish housewives [who] make a drudge of their uxorious mates.” Clearly, “whipped” will not do: That is a crude, more recent pejorative that has the same essential meaning as uxorious. What I want is a word that describes a man who passionately loves a woman but remains his own person with his own self-chosen sphere of work.

I suppose I will have to make do with the word “needy,” but in the sense of Genesis 2: “The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’ ” Bone of his bone, flesh of his flesh, a man becomes a whole man only with woman. And defined thus, we can now say that Woodrow Wilson, president of the United States during 1913-21, was a very needy man.

I would not have believed it were it not for Kristie Miller’s eye-opening Ellen and Edith. I had always thought of Wilson as a bit of a cold fish, an aloof figure and devout Presbyterian who had a Ph.D. in history and political science, and read books like Abel Hendy Jones Greenidge’s Handbook of Greek Constitutional History (1896). All of which is true, but he was also intensely romantic.

Read the rest here.

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