Woodrow Willson



Number President 28th President
Terms Served 2 Term Served
Dates Served 1913-1921
Party Democrat
State Represented New Jersey
Married to / First Lady Ellen Louise Axson Wilson and to Edith Bolling Galt Wilson
Born December 28, 1856 in Staunton, Virginia
Died February 3, 1924 in Washington D.C.
Age Woodrow Willson would be 152 years old this year


Born to Presbyterian parents, Woodrow Wilson was brought up to be pious and academic. Educated at the Princeton University for three years, he went on to join the Law University of Virginia. After graduation he practiced law for sometime but it was half-hearted, at best. He also studied at John Hopkins University from where he received his doctorate.

As President of the Princeton University, he advocated reforms in the education system and attempted to modernize the college. He was a successful lecturer and scholar.

“It is not men that interest or disturb me primarily; it is ideas. Ideas live; men die.” But, Wilson was a thinker who would rather act and so, when impressed by his track record at Princeton, New Jersey Democrats approached him to run as governor he accepted their proposal but made it clear that their support should come with “no strings attached”. He became the Governor of the State of New Jersey (1911-1913) and thenceforth his rise in national politics was stupendous. As Governor, he had a distinguished career initiating reforms.

Upon being elected President of the United States, he started putting into practice the reforms which he had outlined in his book, “The New freedom”. This was a highly ambitious and progressive outlook. It advocated lowering of the tariff, reforming the banking system, taking to task unscrupulous corporations and reviving economic competition. He established the Federal Reserve and the Federal Trade Commission which perhaps, was his most singular achievement. The framework of the nation’s financial agenda including banks, credits and supply of finance rests on these ideals. He gave his full support to unions so that working Americans would not be denied fair treatment.

His foreign policy aimed at overturning the imperialist tendencies of previous governments but, he himself could get deal a heavy hand at times. During his tenure as President, America intervened militarily in Latin America more than previous times.

During World War1, Wilson was determined to remain neutral but was soon drawn into the vortex of war rather unwillingly. But, once the United States decided to go to war, Wilson laid aside his domestic agenda and left no stones unturned to mobilize a nation and its resources, be it manpower, agriculture, commerce or industry. In fact, his speech to the Congress in January 1918 on the “Fourteen points” was a masterstroke in that it convinced people of his vision of a better world and helped in winning the war.

He was the second President to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his tireless efforts at bringing about world peace and trying to establish a League of Nations. But, he failed when he tried to get the Senate to ratify American acceptance of the League of Nations. Despite this, he unflinchingly held on to his belief that Americans would one day embrace his vision of the world community being led by America and twenty-five years later, the United Nation built its headquarters in New York.

Wilson was re-elected for a second term by playing on the slogan, “He kept us out of war”. The farmers and laborers also supported him whole-heartedly impressed by his initiatives at bringing about bold reforms.

Described as America’s most visionary President, Wilson was also one of its greatest reformers. The majority of historians consider him to be amongst the five most important Presidents of the United States whose legacy left the nation strong and powerful. Wilson, much like Roosevelt, succeeded in making the White House the center of power in Washington. He was a strong propagator of expanding the influence and power of the federal government without which, he believed that the economy could not function and he was an equally strong upholder of people’s rights and fiercely protective about their interests.




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