Princeton University is considering renaming some of their buildings named after Woodrow Wilson because he was a racist even by the standards of 100 years ago. Like all Presidents, Woodrow Wilson was evil, but he was one of the worst and racism was the least of his crimes. Wilson ran for President in 1916 under the slogan, “He Kept Us Out of War” and it was very effective because most people wanted to stay out of the war in Europe. As soon as Wilson was elected, he reversed himself and joined the war in Europe over the objections of the citizens, and fought the war with conscripted soldiers, slaves, 50 years after the War Between the States, a war that resulted in the enactment of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, prohibiting slavery and involuntary servitude.
In 1917 the administration of Woodrow Wilson decided to rely primarily on conscription, rather than voluntary enlistment, to raise military manpower for World War I when only 73,000 volunteers enlisted out of the initial 1 million target in the first six weeks of the war. One claimed motivation was to head off former president Theodore Roosevelt, who proposed to raise a volunteer division, which would upstage Wilson, but there is no evidence that even Roosevelt had the popularity to overcome the unpopular war.
The Selective Service Act of 1917 was carefully drawn to remedy the defects in the Civil War system and—by allowing exemptions for dependency, essential occupations, and religious scruples—to place each man in his proper niche in a national war effort. The act established a “liability for military service of all male citizens”; authorized a selective draft of all those between 21 and 31 years of age (later from 18 to 45); and prohibited all forms of bounties, substitutions, or purchase of exemptions.
Administration was entrusted to local boards composed of leading civilians in each community. These boards issued draft calls in order of numbers drawn in a national lottery and determined exemptions.
In 1917 10 million men were registered. This was deemed to be inadequate, so age ranges were increased and exemptions reduced, and so by the end of 1918 this increased to 24 million men that were registered with nearly 3 million inducted into the military services, with little of the resistance that characterized the Civil War, thanks to a huge campaign by the government to build support for the war, and shut down newspapers and magazines that published articles against the war.
The draft was universal and included blacks on the same terms as whites, although they served in different units. In all 367,710 black Americans were drafted (13.0% of the total), compared to 2,442,586 white (86.9%)….
In 1917, a number of radicals and anarchists, including Emma Goldman, challenged the new draft law in federal court, arguing that it was a direct violation of the Thirteenth Amendment’s prohibition against slavery and involuntary servitude. The Supreme Court unanimously upheld the constitutionality of the draft act in the Selective Draft Law Cases on January 7, 1918. The decision said the Constitution gave Congress the power to declare war and to raise and support armies….
Conscription was unpopular from left-wing sectors at the start, with many Socialists jailed for “obstructing the recruitment or enlistment service”. The most famous was Eugene Debs, head of the Socialist Party of America, who ran for president in 1920 from his Atlanta prison cell. He had his sentence commuted to time served and was released on December 25, 1921, by President Warren G. Harding….
Ben Salmon was a nationally known political activist who encouraged men not to register and personally refused to comply with the draft procedures. He rejected the Army Review Board proposal that he do noncombatant farm work. Sentenced to 25 years in prison, he again refused a proposed desk job. He was pardoned and released in November 1920 with a “dishonorable discharge”.
Eugene Debs was incarcerated for exercising his right to free speech and received one million votes even though he ran his campaign for President from prison. Wilson also created the Federal Reserve in 1913 to raise money for government spending, especially wars. He also helped pass the income tax amendment to the Constitution in 1913, which in those days had been an emergency measure used only to finance wars. Abraham Lincoln had used an income tax 50 years earlier to fight the War Between the States and countries in Europe had enacted income taxes to finance wars.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) was created to oppose Wilson. According to Wikipedia:
The ACLU developed from the National Civil Liberties Bureau (CLB), co-founded in 1917 during the Great War by Crystal Eastman, an attorney activist, and Roger Nash Baldwin. The focus of the CLB was on freedom of speech, primarily anti-war speech, and on supporting conscientious objectors who did not want to serve in World War I.
Three United States Supreme Court decisions in 1919 each upheld convictions under laws against certain kinds of anti-war speech. In 1919, the Court upheld the conviction of Socialist Party leader Charles Schenck for publishing anti-war literature. In Debs v. United States, the court upheld the conviction of Eugene Debs. While the Court upheld a conviction a third time in Abrams v. United States, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote an important dissent which has gradually been absorbed as an American principle: he urged the court to treat freedom of speech as a fundamental right, which should rarely be restricted.
Black college students will never demand that a building named after Woodrow Wilson be renamed because he enjoyed murdering conscripted soldiers in an unpopular war. Why? Well, black soldiers are 25% of the military even though blacks are 13% of the population. Blacks enjoy war just as much whites, maybe more so. Conscription, a form of slavery and involuntary servitude, was repealed 40 years ago; black college students have nothing to worry about other than being taxed to pay the volunteer soldiers and purchase the weapons and ammunition.