• [Princeton University] Woodrow Wilson Writes to Meat Packing Lawyer about Unprofitable Cattle Raising

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    WOODROW WILSON (December 28, 1856-February 3, 1924) served as the 28th President of the United States from 1913-1921.  Wilson also served as President of Princeton University from 1902-1910 and as Governor of New Jersey from 1911-1913.  His election to the presidency made him the first Southerner to become president since Zachary Taylor in 1848.  As president, Wilson became a leading force in the Progressive Movement. He also led the United States during World War I, establishing an activist foreign policy known as Wilsonianism.  He championed the League of Nations at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919, but was unable to secure Senate approval for U.S. membership.  Wilson asked Congress to declare in 1917 after Germany resumed unrestricted submarine warfare.  The United States then conducted military operations alongside the allies.  At home, Wilson raised income taxes, borrowed billions of dollars through Liberty Bonds.  He regulated agriculture and food production through the Lever Act and took control of the Railroad system. Wilson asked Congress to pass the Espionage Act of 1917 and the Sedition Act of 1918, suppressing anti-draft activists. 

     

    Offering a 2 pp, 6 x 7 ¼, TLS as President of Princeton University, April 20th, 1910, to Mr. Creigh [Thomas Creigh, an attorney for Cudahy Packing Company, which became one of largest meat packers in the United States within a decade and was one of the first Standard and Poor’s 500 companies.   

     

    In part, “…The statement I made about the meat business in the speech to which you refer was based upon a great many conversations I have had with men who had, at one time or another, been engaged in the business of raising cattle.  They had all made practically the same statement to me, namely that whatever the fluctuations in the price of meat, the price of cattle on the hoof remained stationary, and stationary at so low a figure as to make the raising of cattle, except on a very large scale and under favorable circumstances, unprofitable.  They had for that reason gone out of business.

     

    “I realize, of course, that these statements may be touched with personal feeling and may have been exaggerated, but I took it for granted, from my knowledge of the men themselves, that what they stated was in substance true.  I should be very much interested to know whether you have any statistics upon that point or can refer me to any.  I certainly had no intention of being unfair to meat packers, and I know how easy it is to misjudge in complicated questions of this sort.

     

    “With much respect,

     

    “Sincerely yours,

     

    “Woodrow Wilson”

     

    Hole in the upper left, not affecting any text. A couple of pin holes at the top. Folds and light toning.  Very fine letter with a wonderful Wilson signature.

     

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