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The period spanned by this volume was in many ways one of the most crucial of Wilson’s career. After the New Jersey legislature adjourned in late April, Wilson set out upon a speaking tour that carried him through the Middle West, up the West Coast, back into the Middle West, and then into the South. This tour was the trial run of the preconvention campaign, and strongly favorable public reaction encouraged Wilson to think seriously about seeking the democratic nomination.
Wilson’s speeches on this first great nation tour are printed in full or are represented by extensive news reports. They show the rapid development of Wilson’s political thought and his emergence as a great progressive leader of his day.
Returning to New Jersey in early June of 1911, Wilson addressed himself to important local problems in speeches, a number of which are included here. This volume also provides major speeches given during the last half of the year, when Wilson’s candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination became increasingly promising. The incoming letters amply illustrate public recognition of the new leader, and Wilson’s personal letters describe his family life and his reactions to political events and personalities.