Arts + Culture

The Presidents as Travelers

by Ted Widmer

Woodrow Wilson

Where The Eagle Landed: Belgium France, Italy, United Kingdom

Home and abroad: Woodrow Wilson logged 87,000 miles of domestic travel as president, but it was as a foreign traveler that he made his mark on history. In 1918 and 1919 he traveled to Europe on two extended trips, trying to build new post–World War I agreements that would make such catastrophes impossible in the future. His prestige was so great at that moment, when he symbolized the world's hopes for peace, that H. G. Wells likened him to the Messiah. Huge crowds lined the streets of Paris wherever he went, and he was lionized as the "God of Peace" and the "Moses from across the Atlantic." Wilson's dream of the League of Nations failed, but with his heroic exertions (which nearly killed him), he created a new image for the president as a globe-trotting diplomat.

NEXT: Aloha, Obama

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