Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Edith Wilson: The Secret President

Edith Wilson: The Secret President. This site offers speculation as to how much influence Edith Wilson had in running the United States during her husband's disability from a stroke. It is short and easy to read. It also gives a brief summary of Edith's life.

Was Edith Wilson the de facto President of the United States of America for a brief time? The evidence suggest the possibility as real.

From the site:

On October 2, 1919, Wilson suffered a stroke and was partially paralyzed. Edith suggested to the doctors that her husband resign from office, but they told her that doing so might kill him. They advised her, however, that he must not be burdened by government problems. Edith felt she was the only person who knew the President’s mind and could act as he would wish.

For the next six weeks, she became the power behind the presidency, although she claimed, “I, myself, never made a single decision regarding the disposition5 of public affairs. The only decision that was mine was what was important and what was not.”

Government officials and the public were never told how ill the President was. Cabinet members, members of Congress, and ambassadors who wished to speak to the President had to consult Edith first. Whenever possible, she convinced an official to solve a problem within his own department. Somehow she always found a clever way to preserve the President’s secret.

Speculation about the President’s illness and questions about who was running the country swept the nation. Wilson’s opponents in Congress and the press claimed the United States was a “petticoat government” run by an “acting ruler.”


Anonymous said...

Could you tell me about any good books on this subject, other than that of Phyllis Lee Levin?

Leonard Peterson said...

I am very pleased to discover this site and associated links. I have been aware of Edith Wilson's "presidency" for at least 20 years and would like to see her recognized as the first female president. Her ascendancy, which may not have been constitutionally authorized, does follow that of other wives who have stepped into the offices of Senator, Governor, and other offices when the husband has either been incapacitated or has died.