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The opening of this volume finds Wilson and the American people enjoying the President’s triumph in the Sussex crisis, in which the Germans agree not to sink merchantmen without warning or without providing for the safety of passengers and crew. It is also a time of intense political excitement as both parties prepare for the national conventions. Wilson, assured of the renomination, writes the Democratic platform, which is committed to continued progressive reforms, neutrality, and membership in the league of nations. The Republicans nominate Associate Justice Charlens Evans Hughes, a moderate progressive.
In addition to organizing the national Democratic campaign, Wilson makes arrangements for the appointment of the Mexican-American Joint High Commission to solve the security problem on the southwestern border. He also puts heavy pressure on the British government to consent to his mediation under the terms of the House-Grey Memorandum. When the British refuse to cooperate, Wilson considers the possibility of his own independent mediation.
At home, the Presidents faces one of the gravest challenges to his domestic leadership when the four railway brotherhoods call a nationwide strike of freight service after their demands for an eight-hour day without pay reduction are refused. This problem will soon be resolved when Congress adopts the Adamson Eight-Hour Railroad Act.