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The clerks in the White House offices who sift the President's mail

view of the Presidency can be of only ephemeral value, for not in many years has there been such a legion of delicate problems massed before the chief executive of the nation. Our thinking about the Presidency is of course in terms of such men as we have seen in the White House in the last twenty-five years: Harrison, Cleveland, McKinley, Roosevelt, Taft, and Wilson. Only the last four, however, have actually witnessed the marvelous industrial and commercial expansion of the United States, and the consequent progressive increase of executive problems. Recent tendency has been toward centralization of power, a new nationalism for efficiency's sake; and through force of circumstances President Wilson has been more heavily taxed with the new burdens of the age than any of his immediate predecessors.

Mr. Wilson is on the threshold of a second term. On him a world-wide attention is hopefully fixed. He is in the international as well as in the national lime-light. From a domestic point of view he has introduced many changes in the Presidency, among them a closer cooperation between the executive and the legislative branches of the Government, a new emphasis on party responsibility.

In the field of foreign affairs he has occupied for two years a position conspicuously coördinate with the rulers of the world. To him have been borne the outcries and heartaches of a stricken humanity. He is at the head of the most powerful nation of the world still remaining neutral. International complications have threatened the peace of the United States. It is an awful consciousness to have on one's mind or in one's hands the power virtually of war or peace, the good or ill of a hundred millions of people.

In recent years our Government has become essentially a one-man government. With President Roosevelt came the change, but President Wilson has been even more adept in emphasizing executive functions, especially in foreign affairs. European monarchs rely on their cabinets or councils to take a certain share of responsibility; but while the President of the United States may delegate tasks to individual members of the cabinet, the ultimate responsibility for their decisions is with him alone. Add to this, then, the incapacity of a single cabinet officer, and by just so much is the President's burden augmented. The obvious remedy is to substitute efficient for inefficient men in the cabinet. This requires courage as well

as a sense of discrimination; a man in the Presidency must learn how to part with his best friends. It is the severest test of true greatness and likewise the most disagreeable one. Whatever may have been the political or other expediencies that governed the original selection of his cabinet officers, Mr. Wilson's hands are now untied. His only obligation is to the nation and its posterity.

Mr. Wilson's first term must have taught him much about his task that should enable him to direct his own improvement. At the outset every man is an amateur in the Presidency; he must feel his way into it. The neophyte days of Mr. Wilson, his gradual transition from the empiricism of a novice to the steadiness of a sure-footed administrator, are interesting in retrospect. Many men are born executives; others become so in the sudden circumstances of great responsibility. Mr. Wilson has had many opportunities for self-instruction in the last two years.

Take one day last August as an example of what the President must sometimes do to meet the demands of his office. It was an extraordinary day, but it will illustrate the scope of Presidential duty and obligation.

Mr. Wilson rose early, breakfasted with his family in the state dining-room, glanced at the head-lines in the morning newspapers, and in a few minutes was in his study on the second floor of the White House, the historic room where Lincoln held his famous cabinet meetings long before the days of the new executive offices. Mr. Wilson was attended only by Charles Swem, his stenographer, one of the fastest shorthand men in the world. He had brought the mail from the executive offices, where a staff of clerks had sifted the letters and telegrams and collected the most urgent ones. The President read them all hastily, put aside some for a second reading, reading, and answered others promptly. He dictated for half an hour or more. He rarely has to change or revise a dictated letter, for he has the rare faculty of being able to say at once ex

actly what he wishes to say. His style flows on as easily in his dictated letters as in his books or speeches. This capacity for ready expression has been of inestimable help, as it would be to an executive in any business, public or private.

His dictation finished, the President hurried from the White House proper to the executive offices, passing through a latticed corridor, screened from public view and of course constantly guarded. As a rule his first engagement is at ten o'clock, but this day it was at half-past nine. Several congressmen and senators wished to see the President, and each said he wished only two or three minutes, and the secretaries at the White House had grouped the calls in that first half-hour. One by one Patrick McKenna, usher for many Presidents, showed them the way to the President's desk.

With hurried callers like these Mr. Wilson does not sit down. In their eloquence they might forget all about the clock. Some the President may keep longer. He wishes, perhaps, to know more about their errands. With others he finds it necessary to arrive at a decision on the spot. There is no time for procrastination. Persons who come to see the President, and who get an audience, usually have something of importance to say. Yet everything is important. The President is leader of his party as well as the nation's executive. He must perhaps determine a point of political strategy in a doubtful State. A congressman wishes somebody pardoned. The President promises to send for the papers in the case and read them. A senator has an invitation to present. If the President goes West, the people of the senator's State wish Mr. Wilson to stop at three cities therein. Mr. Wilson replies that he will keep it in mind; he has much to keep in mind. He makes a memorandum of the call, or the senator leaves a copy of the invitation.

Several senators then came to consult the President on legislative matters, and he examined the bill they brought. What should the committee do? What was the administration's desire? And Mr. Wil

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important acts of Congress: the childlabor bill, an act granting virtual autonomy to the Philippines, and the two bills authorizing the reorganization of the army and navy and the expenditure of

The signing of the four important measures competed for attention with a dozen or more pressing questions, and committees of Congress had come to witness the ceremony. It was brief. Mr. Wilson said a


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Governor Folk and Robt. J. Collier

12:15 p.m. Bishop Harding and Rev. I.. J. O'Hearn

12:30 p.n.

2:00 p.n.

8:00 p.n.

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Ar. Hapyood and Mr. Robins

few words, hardly adequate, he admitted, to explain the significance of the new legislation; and the chairmen of the different committees by whom the bills had been drawn and completed stepped forward to get the pens with which the bills had been transformed into law, a souvenir habit that has run through many administrations.

The room was clear again, and the President sat down for another half-hour of conferences, this time with the secretary of the treasury and later with the secretary of commerce. At noon he was ready for another session with the railroad executives whom he had seen the night before. Until one o'clock he was debating, arguing, pleading with them, and finally walked over to luncheon, mentally worn out. One o'clock is the luncheon-hour at the White House, but that day it was not a Ambassador Walter Hines Page and Ambassador William G. Sharp were home from London and Paris respectively on their first furloughs. They had made long cable and mail reports, but by way of supplement they had much to tell the President about the war in Europe, the state of opinion

The schedule for the day which lies on the President's desk

more money for troops and battle-ships than at any other time in the history of the nation's peace. The President's eyes were blood-shot; his face was drawn and haggard. He had been up most of the night working on his message to Congress on the railroad situation, and had already done a day's work.


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Finally he took refuge from all this congestion of business in a motor-ride with Mrs. Wilson. There was no time for golf that day, but only for a cooling ride in Rock Creek Park; for it was midsum

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in the Allied countries, the possibilities of peace, the new offensive of the Allies, a great deal about the attitude of the Allied governments toward the United States, and the gossip of diplomatic circles in Europe-what the diplomats of Europe really think about the war in contradistinction to what they publicly say. There was no other time on the calendar for these ambassadors, so Mr. Wilson combined work and luncheon.

Immediately afterward the Japanese ambassador was due to call. He was in uniform, for he came to say formal good-by, and Mr. Wilson, attended by a military aide, received him. The formalities were over in a few minutes, and the President turned to his next callers. They were Vance McCormick, chairman of the Democratic national committee, and Henry Morgenthau, chairman of the finance committee of the campaign and an active political manager; for while Mr. Wilson was busy with public business, he could not forget the campaign. His opponent was stumping the country; the Republi

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How Mr. Wilson prepared his speeches during the campaign: his shorthand notes for a speech in Cincinnati on October 26. The figures refer to munitions exports and the state of our commerce

cans, not burdened by legislative responsibilities, were working day and night in the campaign. Mr. Wilson was consulted about his speech of acceptance and the general plan of campaign at Shadow Lawn. He was with his political aides for nearly an hour; it was his first conference in weeks.

mer, which means an average of eighty degrees Fahrenheit.

On the President's return, the secretary of state was waiting with a mass of cablegrams and diplomatic notes received from other governments. He made a brief comprehensive explanation of new developments, and together the President and he

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