Friday, 2 October 2020

1st ladyship

Having survived a probable case of the Spanish Flu picked up during his attendance at the Paris Peace Conference the previous fall, on this day in 1919, US president Woodrow Wilson (*1856 – †1924) suffered a debilitating stroke after an exhausting but ultimately unsuccessful barnstorming campaign push in the western states to rally support for the America’s membership in the League of Nations that left him incapacitated for the remainder of his term.

Unbeknownst to the public and most government officials, Wilson was sequestered from everyone except for his physician and wife, Edith (née Bolling Galt), who discharged the duties of the office effectively and efficiently—probably vetoing the Volstead Act which would have prevented Prohibition if it had not been overridden by Congress. The twenty-fifth amendment to the US constitution which redresses vagaries concerning the line of succession was ratified between 1965 and 1967 in response to the assassination of John F. Kennedy as by the time the public learned of the situation, there was only a few months left in the Wilson presidency, having lost his bid for a third term, and congressional leaders (probably just as well) declined to press the issue.