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Woodrow Wilson Quotes, And A Few Thoughts On Same

September 20, 2022

U.S. president Woodrow Wilson triple caricature

Woodrow Wilson–? Anyone remember him?blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

He was the 28th President of the United States (1913-1921).blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Is he a particular favorite of mine? Not really. One of the few things I knew about him (before writing this post) was that he was President during World War I.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

One interesting thing: as a boy, he actually lived through the American Civil War (1861-65). (He was born in Virginia in 1856.)blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

I had occasion to do a caricature of him recently, and decided to do a post about him. But I needed a new angle.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

My recent posts on American presidents William Henry Harrison, Martin Van Buren, and Andrew Jackson all focused on key events during their presidencies, and the lessons we can learn from them. I wanted to do something different this time around.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

On impulse I googled “Woodrow Wilson quotes,” and found this Wikiquote collection. I chose 10 quotes that resonated for me. Wilson spoke them all more than 100 years ago. Here they are with my reflections.blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

[Note: the Wikiquotes page cites a source for each quote (a certain speech and the year given), but doesn’t link to a competent authority that can corroborate same. I can find most of the quotes in other Woodrow Wilson quote collections, but that doesn’t constitute definitive proof that Wilson actually said them. FWIW.]blank vertical space, 24 pixels highblank vertical space, 16 pixels highblank vertical space, 24 pixels high

“If a dog not naturally possessed of the devil will not come to you after he has looked you in the face, you ought to go home and examine your conscience; and if a little child, from any other reason than mere timidity, looks you in the face, and then draws back and will not come to your knee, go home and look deeper yet into your conscience.”(“Young People and the Church,“ October 13, 1904)

blank vertical space, 24 pixels highblank vertical space, 16 pixels highI’ve had bad experiences with a few dogs, but I think they were possessed by the devil…  🐶 😈😬💦blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

The “dog test” and the “little child test” are especially important if you’re a marketer, a salesman, or a freelancer.blank vertical space, 16 pixels highblank vertical space, 24 pixels high

“Business underlies everything in our national life, including our spiritual life. Witness the fact that in the Lord’s Prayer, the first petition is for daily bread. No one can worship God or love his neighbor on an empty stomach.”(Speech in New York City, May 23, 1912)

blank vertical space, 24 pixels highblank vertical space, 16 pixels highAbsolutely true, I would say. It also confirms my cynical opinion that while many politicians insist on a strict separation of church and state, they don’t mind temporarily embracing religion if it suits their agenda.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

The lesson for marketers and freelancers: always pitch your clients after lunch.blank vertical space, 16 pixels highblank vertical space, 24 pixels high

“I would … rather lose in a cause that I know some day will triumph than triumph in a cause that I know some day will lose.”(Speech in Syracuse, NY, September 12, 1912)

blank vertical space, 24 pixels highblank vertical space, 16 pixels highI feel that way about the pro-life cause. There was a time when many, many people accepted slavery as a fact of life. They justified it by saying that certain people weren’t fully human.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

If you’re a marketer or a “brand,” you should think twice about jumping on a bandwagon. You have to build on something more enduring than a fad.blank vertical space, 16 pixels highblank vertical space, 24 pixels high

“If you think too much about being re-elected, it is very difficult to be worth re-electing.”(Rededication and restoration of Congress Hall, Philadelphia, PA, October 25, 1913)

blank vertical space, 24 pixels highblank vertical space, 16 pixels highThe key word here is ‘worth.’ Most politicians are focused on being re-elected. And most incumbents are re-elected. Which is why so many failed policies endure.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

The lesson for the rest of us: we’re not worthy of someone’s business if we sell ourselves but fail to deliver a top-notch product or service.blank vertical space, 16 pixels highblank vertical space, 24 pixels high

“You are not here merely to prepare to make a living. You are here to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, and with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget this errand.”(“Ideals of College,” Swarthmore College, October 25, 1913)

blank vertical space, 24 pixels highblank vertical space, 16 pixels highMy opinion: colleges don’t enrich the world by censoring certain ideas and points of view. Ideas and philosophies have to clash if one is honestly committed to discerning truth.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

It’s always tempting for a creative to accept jobs that conflict with one’s values. For me, an example would be glamorizing a product or behavior that sexualizes young girls. Wilson’s words ring true: we’re here to enrich the world and nurture a healthy culture, not just make a living.blank vertical space, 32 pixels high

“I would rather belong to a poor nation that was free than to a rich nation that had ceased to be in love with liberty.”(Address on Latin American Policy before the Southern Commercial Congress, Mobile, AL, October 27, 1913)

blank vertical space, 32 pixels highHere in America in 2022, many are tempted to opt for security instead of freedom. Politicians keep expanding the welfare state to win votes. (Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan comes to mind.) But when the State takes care of you, the money always comes with strings. You’re no longer free, and you’re only “secure” as long as the State can keep borrowing money.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

American freelancers are learning that the State is willing to curtail their liberty. The Biden Administration is actively pursuing labor policies that would reclassify freelancers as W2 workers, and force them to join unions and pay union dues. The mainstream media has largely ignored the issue.blank vertical space, 32 pixels high

“The way to stop financial joy-riding is to arrest the chauffeur, not the automobile.”(The Atlanta Constitution, January 14, 1914)

blank vertical space, 32 pixels highThe U.S. national debt is currently over 30 trillion dollars. We don’t arrest chauffeurs, we go on reelecting them.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

For a brand, “joy-riding” is doing the same thing over and over again. If you’re not seeing any progress, it’s time to change creatives.blank vertical space, 32 pixels high

“I not only use all the brains I have, but all I can borrow, and I have borrowed a lot…”(Speech to the National Press Club, March 20, 1914)

blank vertical space, 32 pixels highIf you only borrow brains that think exactly like your brain, you’re doing your constituents/brand a disservice. Success (and progress) require different points of view.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Unless you’re in an old horror movie, “borrowing a brain” means hiring a collaborator. Successful brands know when to get outside help and expertise.blank vertical space, 32 pixels high

“One cool judgment is worth a thousand hasty counsels. The thing to do is to supply light and not heat.”(Speech on Military Preparedness, Pittsburgh, PA, January 29, 1916)

blank vertical space, 32 pixels highSo much of today’s “communication” is rhetoric: people preaching to the choir and calling the other guy names. All heat, no light = division.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Some brands use the same technique: create fans and followers by ridiculing others. It coarsens the culture and alienates people who might have been willing to give the brand a try.blank vertical space, 32 pixels high

“If you want to make enemies, try to change something.”(Address to World’s Salesmanship Congress, Detroit, MI, July 10, 1916)

blank vertical space, 32 pixels highNow there’s a timeless observation!!blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

And yet we all need to change and try new things. Where we often go wrong, I think, is opting for change for change’s sake– to look cool, hip, “woke,” with it.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Customer loyalty (and one’s own self-respect) often depend on a brand’s remaining loyal to its values, beliefs, and standards.blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

Here’s a bonus:blank vertical space, 32 pixels high

“(Prosperity) depends upon the inventions of unknown men, (and)… the ambitions of unknown men. Every country is renewed out of the ranks of the unknown, not out of the ranks of those already famous and powerful and in control.”(“The Old Order Changeth,” 1913)

blank vertical space, 32 pixels highSo attention, all my fellow unknowns! The future depends on us!– let’s rev it up and save the day!!
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*       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       * blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

About Mark: I’m an illustrator specializing in humor, branding, social media, and content marketing. My images are different, like your brand needs to be.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

You can view my portfolio, and connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Questions? Send me an email.blank vertical space, 40 pixels highRecommendation testimonial for Mark Armstrong Illustration from Doug Busk, VP Communications, Emory U. former Global Group Director Social Media at Coca-Colablank vertical space, 32 pixels high

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 20, 2022 5:35 PM

    I’m impressed with Woodrow Wilson’s way of looking at things. I think Ronald Reagan echoed some of these sentiments.

    Like

    • September 22, 2022 7:59 AM

      Yes, interesting. Wilson was a progressive Democrat, but I doubt he’d recognize his party today. So many great quotes lying around– the wisdom’s there, but we so seldom apply it!! Thanks as always for your kind support, Margy! 😊

      Like

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