1913 TLS to a prominent Washington Jewish socialite and DAR member, thanking her for letting him see a copy of “President Adams’ address”
Description: (1856-1924) Virginia-born historian, academic, politician, in February 1890 became Chair of Jurisprudence and Political Economy at Princeton, president 1902-10. New Jersey Governor 1911-13, US President 1913-21. His “New Freedom” domestic policies led to 3 Constitutional amendments (17th, 18th, & 19th)to support direct election of senators, prohibition, and woman suffrage). He promoted tariff, antitrust, banking, and child labor law changes, pursued Pancho Villa in Mexico, and maintained neutrality in WW I until the sinking of the Lusitania. Formulated 14 Points peace plan leading to Armistice to end WW I, active at Versailles Conference and forced European acceptance of League of Nations, ultimately not approved by the US Senate. Awarded 1919 Nobel Peace Prize.
TLS, 9 x 7 “The White House/ Washington” letterhead, May 9 1913, to Miss Aline E. Solomons, Washington. Wilson thanks Miss Solomons for an invitation he is unable to accept, regrets disappointing her but appreciates her courtesy. He thanks her “…also for your kindness in letting me see the copy of President Adams’ address” which he describes as “most interesting”.
Aline E. Solomons of Washington was a descendant of the patriotic Jewish Seixas family on her mother’s side. Miss Solomons was Librarian General of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution 1905-07.
John Adams grew up in a home based on Puritan values. Puritans believed themselves to be like the Israelite’s fleeing Egypt, wandering into the wilderness and reaching the promised land of the New World. They used the Bible, adopted biblical customs, established biblical codes, such as observance of the Sabbath, and gave their children Hebrew names. In an 1808 letter he wrote on Voltaire’s description of the Jews, Adams made his respect for the Jewish people clear. “They are the most glorious nation that ever inhabited this Earth,” he wrote to Dutch patriot and American immigrant François Adriaan van der Kemp. “The Romans and their Empire were but a Bauble in comparison of the Jews. They have given religion to three quarters of the Globe and have influenced the affairs of Mankind more, and more happily, than any other Nation ancient or modern.”
Jews admired Wilson’s intellect, political liberalism, and the warm appreciation he displayed toward Jews when so many other Americans were overtly anti-Semitic. When Wilson ran for president in 1912, an ad in Boston’s Jewish Advocate urged readers to support him, citing his progressive views on immigration and his willingness to abrogate a trade treaty with Russia as punishment for its violations of Jews’ human rights. In large black letters, the ad listed famous Jews who supported Wilson and urged all “thinking Jews” to join them. President Wilson frequently consulted with Louis Brandeis and, in 1916, nominated him as the first Jew ever to serve on the Supreme Court. Wilson also befriended other notable Jews, including Bernard Baruch and Rabbi Stephen Wise. Jews applauded when he vetoed legislation to reduce immigration by means of a literacy test. He continued to oppose restrictionist legislation during his 2nd term, sticking to his principles in the face of a rising anti-immigrant tide. Wilson also endorsed the 1917 Balfour Declaration that viewed with favor “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.” As the son of a Presbyterian minister, he intimated, he considered it “a privilege to restore the Holy Land to its rightful owners.”
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