George Norris in 1920

After Wilson suffered the stroke in Pueblo, CO in October 1919,  the staff rushed him back to Washington.  There his condition improved but he was a virtual invalid for the remainder of his term.  Edith Wilson was  the chief aide and often the acting President until March 4, 1921, the end of  the term.  She monitored all guests and no doubt made some big decisions.  In the  Senate, most Republicans and some Democrats did not support the treaty  and it was defeated; the final tab was well short of the 2/3 vote that the Constitution requires.  President Wilson was as much to blame since he would not compromise.  As  I previously stated, he was foolish in making the 1918 mid-term elections a mandate on the treaty with the League of Nations.

The economy turned bad with a sudden vertical drop.  This was the Post War Depression which lasted from 1919 to 1922.  Historians have yet to sufficiently write about this economic disaster.    Had we learned about this depression with the related human suffering,  we might have blunted the effects of the Great Depression of the 30s.  The Post War Depression was the reason the country went Republican in 1920.   The average voter cared very little about foreign policy.  Here to me were the drivers of the Post War Depression.

–With President Wilson ailing and incapacitated, there was no central planning.  Each Cabinet member went in their own direction.  Mixed signals create confusion and uncertainty in the country;

–President Wilson, prior to his stroke, dismantled war agencies and control.  Here was the ominous influence of big business wanting no regulations.   There was a demand of goods in short supply  and inflation was rampant chewing up personal savings,

–The government began paying debt on bonds issued to support the war; Money spent on interest is essentially lost.  Taxes were not high enough during the war.  The United States fought World War I largely on credit,

–Europe was in worse shape paying off war debts and transitioning to a peacetime economy.  The Secretary of the Treasury cancelled loans to Europe through government operated War Finance Board.  No credit for European nations hurt their economy.  They could not buy goods from the United States.

–In part because of the previous point, there was a glut of agricultural harvest.  This meant more foreclosures on farms and idling  of factories.

To be continued.


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