President Woodrow Wilson’s Vice President, Thomas Marshall, famously quipped while presiding over the Senate: “What this country needs is a really good five-cent cigar.” But what this country needs today is a public debate over perpetual unconstitutional presidential wars that have reduced the Republic and its magnificent separation of powers to rubble.
The topic has been censored for a century by the two major political parties and the mainstream media. It has been censored in elite academia, including Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Columbia. They eagerly supply the intellectual infrastructure to justify the global projection military force professedly to redeem the world as Oxford and Cambridge did in Great Britain to enable the British Empire. America’s dip into the dark side of social and national security policy has been routinely engineered by our nation’s elites: eugenics, Japanese American concentration camps, the Vietnam War, the multi-trillion-dollar military industrial counterterrorism complex, and, a foreign policy in which the strong do what they can while the weak suffer what they must.
John B. Henry, the chairman of the Committee for the Republic, has produced a new play, Republic Undone, which attempts to breach this censorship by dramatizing the life and two-term presidency of Thomas Woodrow Wilson, both of which have been generally sugar-coated by historians besotted by his messianic dream to implement the Sermon on the Mount through moral suasion at the tips of bayonets.
Wilson was disloyal to the United States Constitution. He openly preferred the British model of limitless executive power denuded of checks and balances. He lionized Lord Gladstone, who aligned British liberalism with the empire ambitions of British conservatives. Wilson similarly aligned the Democratic Party with empire ambitions of Republican heavyweights Theodore Roosevelt and Henry Cabot Lodge. The latter were not opposed to the League of Nations, but only a League that would not do the bidding of the United States.
In defiance of the Declare War Clause at the outset of the Great War, Wilson made the United States a co-belligerent with the Allied Powers against Germany without a congressional declaration of war. He permitted weapons, loans, trade, and commerce to flow freely to them while acceding to an illegal British blockade that quarantined United States commerce with Germany as well as neutral powers like the Netherlands.
The censorship that has continued since has nourished limitless executive power and an epidemic of gratuitous wars that have bankrupted the nation, destroyed the Bill of Rights, and operated like a wrecking crew against the separation of powers. If Republic Undone does not inspire you to attempt to give a new birth to our mutilated Republic, nothing else will.
Contrary to prevailing orthodoxy, President Wilson was an avid warrior. He valorized death in battle like Alfred Lord Tennyson’s Charge of the Light Brigade. He supported the Spanish American War which had been ignited by “yellow journalism” and President William McKinley’s untruthful insinuations about Spanish responsibility for the explosion that destroyed the U.S.S. Maine in Havana harbor. Wilson chronically employed the military offensively without congressional authorization throughout Latin America, including Cuba, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and Panama. He also unconstitutionally employed American troops under British command against the Bolshevik Revolution.
Republic Undone exposes President Wilson’s clarion cry to “make the world safe for democracy” as propaganda worthy of George Orwell’s 1984. At home, Wilson trampled free speech with the Espionage and Sedition Acts, which he brandished to silence peaceful war protesters like Eugene Debs with jail time or deportation. He disseminated “fake news” generated substantially by the British through the Committee on Public Information to brainwash the American people into supporting American entry into the Great War. Truth is the first casualty of a president seeking a pretext for war, whether a “police action” in Korea, a second torpedo attack in the Gulf of Tonkin, or WMD in Iraq.
Wilson excited xenophobia by asserting naturalized citizens had “poured the poison of disloyalty into the very arteries of our national life” and needed to “be crushed.” German Americans were targeted for ostracism and worse, setting a precedent for Japanese-American concentration camps in World War II.
The Flint Hill-based Stone Hill Theatrical Foundation produced the play, and the actors are primarily Rappahannock, Va., “citizen-actors.” The quality of instruction on the Constitution and how it has been subverted by the U.S. Imperial Project dramatized in Republic Undone is unmatched in social or historical theatre today.
The premier performance will be at Castleton Theater in Rappahannock County Saturday evening, May 19, and it will also be performed at the Keegan Theater in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, May 22, and at the Metropolitan Club in D.C. on Wednesday, May 23. Members can contact the club directly, non-members can contact John Henry at [email protected] for info.
(Ret.) Maj. Todd E. Pierce is a writer and former Army judge advocate general defense attorney at Guantanamo Bay detention center, Cuba.