2021: 3/22 Racial Memory, Woodrow Wilson, and the Making of the Nation

March 23, 2021

3/22 Racial Memory, Woodrow Wilson, and the Making of the Nation

(recording not available)

Rutgers University President Jonathan Holloway presented a discussion of the role that race played in shaping the leadership and political world view of Woodrow Wilson. As the president of the United States, Wilson led the country toward war in order to make the world safe for democracy. If that narrative is embraced as a form of progressive international politics, Wilson’s domestic policies tell a different story. Wilson’s racial views informed his administration’s punitive approach to labor, citizenship, and belonging. As contemporary sensibilities shifted in our new century, Wilson’s legacy came under closer scrutiny, particularly at Princeton University which he once led. The university wrestled over the “racial memory” of Wilson’s ideologies in ways that can inform our current thinking about race, citizenship, and public policy decision-making.

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