Woodrow Wilson

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Woodrow Wilson
Woodrow Wilson

Wilson in 1912.

In office
March 4, 1913 – March 4, 1921
Vice President Thomas R. Marshall
Preceded by William Howard Taft
Succeeded by Warren G. Harding

In office
January 17, 1911 – March 1, 1913
Preceded by John Franklin Fort
Succeeded by James Fairman Fielder

In office
1902 – 1910
Preceded by Francis L. Patton
Succeeded by John Aikman Stewart

Born December 28, 1856(1856-12-28)
Staunton, Virginia
Died February 3, 1924 (aged 67)
Washington, D.C.
Birth name Thomas Woodrow Wilson
Political party Democratic
Spouse Ellen Axson Wilson
Edith Bolling Galt Wilson
Children Margaret Woodrow Wilson
Jessie Wilson
Eleanor R. Wilson
Alma mater Princeton University
Johns Hopkins University
Profession Academic (History, Political science)
Religion Presbyterian
Signature Woodrow Wilson's signature

Thomas Woodrow Wilson (December 28, 1856–February 3, 1924)[1] was the 28th President of the United States. A devout Presbyterian and leading intellectual of the Progressive Era, he served as President of Princeton University from 1902 to 1910, and then as the Governor of New Jersey from 1911 to 1913. With Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft dividing the Republican Party vote, Wilson was elected President as a Democrat in 1912. To date he is the only President to serve in a political office in New Jersey before election to the Presidency, although Grover Cleveland is the only President born in the state of New Jersey. Early in his first term, he supported some cabinet appointees in introducing segregation in the federal workplace of several departments, a Democratic Congress to pass major legislation that included the Federal Trade Commission, the Clayton Antitrust Act, the Federal Farm Loan Act, America's first-ever federal progressive income tax in the Revenue Act of 1913 and most notably the Federal Reserve Act. [2][3]

Narrowly re-elected in 1916, Wilson had a second term centered on World War I. He tried to maintain U.S. neutrality, but when the German Empire began unrestricted submarine warfare, he wrote several admonishing notes to Germany, and in April 1917 asked Congress to declare war on the Central Powers. He focused on diplomacy and financial considerations, leaving the waging of the war primarily in the hands of the military establishment. On the home front, he began the first effective draft in 1917, raised billions in war funding through Liberty Bonds, imposed an income tax, enacted the first federal drug prohibition, set up the War Industries Board, promoted labor union growth, supervised agriculture and food production through the Lever Act, took over control of the railroads, and suppressed anti-war movements. National women's suffrage and democratic election of the Senate were achieved under Wilson's presidency, although his largely progressive term was tempered by conservative and sometimes regressive policies towards racial equality.[citation needed]

In the late stages of the war, Wilson took personal control of negotiations with Germany, including the armistice. He issued his Fourteen Points, his view of a post-war world that could avoid another terrible conflict. He went to Paris in 1919 to create the League of Nations and shape the Treaty of Versailles, with special attention on creating new nations out of defunct empires. Largely for his efforts to form the League, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1919. Wilson collapsed with a debilitating stroke in 1919, as the home front saw massive strikes and race riots, and wartime prosperity turn into postwar depression. He refused to compromise with the Republicans who controlled Congress after 1918, effectively destroying any chance for ratification of the Versailles Treaty. The League of Nations was established anyway, but the United States never joined. Wilson's idealistic internationalism, calling for the United States to enter the world arena to fight for democracy, progressiveness, and liberalism, has been a contentious position in American foreign policy, serving as a model for "idealists" to emulate or "realists" to reject for the following century. Wilson has been ranked by some scholars as one of the greatest U.S. Presidents, though his legacy remains highly controversial.[citation needed]


Early life

Wilson was born in Staunton, Virginia on December 28, 1856 as the third of four children of Reverend Dr. Joseph Ruggles Wilson (1822–1903) and Jessie Janet Woodrow (1826–1888).[1] His ancestry was Scots-Irish and Scottish. His paternal grandparents immigrated to the United States from Strabane, County Tyrone, northern Ireland in 1807. His mother was born in Carlisle to Scottish parents. His grandparents' whitewashed house has become a tourist attraction in Northern Ireland. Descendants of the Wilsons still live in the farmhouse next door to it.[4]

Wilson's father was originally from Steubenville, Ohio, where his grandfather published a newspaper, The Western Herald and Gazette, that was pro-tariff and abolitionist.[5] Wilson's parents moved South in 1851 and identified with the Confederacy. His father defended slavery, owned slaves and set up a Sunday school for them. They cared for wounded soldiers at their church. The father also briefly served as a chaplain to the Confederate Army.[6] Woodrow Wilson's earliest memory, from the age of three, was of hearing that Abraham Lincoln had been elected and that a war was coming. Wilson would forever recall standing for a moment at Robert E. Lee's side and looking up into his face.[6]

Wilson’s father was one of the founders of the Southern Presbyterian Church in the United States (PCUS) after it split from the northern Presbyterians in 1861. Joseph R. Wilson served as the first permanent clerk of the southern church’s General Assembly, was Stated Clerk from 1865-1898 and was Moderator of the PCUS General Assembly in 1879. Wilson spent the majority of his childhood, up to age 14, in Augusta, Georgia, where his father was minister of the First Presbyterian Church.[7]

Wilson was over ten years of age before he learned to read. His difficulty reading may have indicated dyslexia,[8] but as a teenager he taught himself shorthand to compensate.[9] He was able to achieve academically through determination and self-discipline. He studied at home under his father's guidance and took classes in a small school in Augusta.[10] During Reconstruction, Wilson lived in Columbia, South Carolina, the state capital, from 1870-1874, where his father was professor at the Columbia Theological Seminary.[11]

In 1873, he spent a year at Davidson College in North Carolina, then transferred to Princeton as a freshman, graduating in 1879, becoming a member of Phi Kappa Psi fraternity. Beginning in his second year, he read widely in political philosophy and history. Wilson credited the British parliamentary sketch-writer Henry Lucy as his inspiration to enter public life. He was active in the undergraduate American Whig-Cliosophic Society discussion club, and organized a separate Liberal Debating Society.[12]

In 1879, Wilson attended law school at University of Virginia for one year. Although he never graduated, during his time at the University he was heavily involved in the Virginia Glee Club and the Jefferson Literary and Debating Society, serving as the Society's president.[13] His frail health dictated withdrawal, and he went home to Wilmington, North Carolina where he continued his studies.[14]

He entered graduate studies at Johns Hopkins University in 1883 and three years later received a Ph.D. in history and political science. After completing his doctoral dissertation, Congressional Government, in 1885, he received academic appointments at Bryn Mawr College (1885-88) and Wesleyan University (1888-90).[15]

Personal life


Wilson’s mother was possibly a hypochondriac. Consequently, Wilson seemed to think that he was often in poorer health than he really was. However, he did suffer from hypertension at a relatively early age and may have suffered his first stroke at age 39.[16]


In 1885, he married Ellen Louise Axson, the daughter of a minister from Rome, Georgia. They had three daughters: Margaret Woodrow Wilson (1886-1944); Jessie Wilson (1887-1933); and Eleanor R. Wilson (1889-1967)[1] Axson died in 1914, and Wilson married Edith Galt in 1915. Wilson is one of only three presidents to be widowed while still in office.[17]


Wilson's Pierce Arrow, which resides in his hometown of Staunton, Virginia.

Wilson was an early automobile enthusiast, and he took daily rides while he was President. His favorite car was a 1919 Pierce-Arrow, in which he preferred to ride with the top down.[18] His enjoyment of motoring made him an advocate of funding for public highways.[19]

Wilson was an avid baseball fan. In 1916, he became the first sitting president to attend a World Series game. Wilson had been a center fielder during his Davidson College days. When he transferred to Princeton he was unable to make the varsity and so became the assistant manager of the team. He was the first President officially to throw out a first ball at a World Series.[20]

He cycled regularly, including several cycling vacations in the Lake District in Britain. Unable to cycle around Washington, D.C. as President, Wilson took to playing golf, although he played with more enthusiasm than skill. Wilson holds the record of all the presidents for the most rounds of golf, over 1,000, or almost one every other day. During the winter, the Secret Service would paint golf balls with black paint so Wilson could hit them around in the snow on the White House lawn.[21]

Public life

Legal career

In January 1882, Wilson decided to start his first law practice in Atlanta. One of Wilson’s University of Virginia classmates, Edward Ireland Renick, invited Wilson to join his new law practice as partner. Wilson joined him there in May 1882. He passed the Georgia Bar. On October 19, 1882, he appeared in court before Judge George Hillyer to take his examination for the bar, which he passed with flying colors and he began work on his thesis Congressional Government in the United States.[22] Competition was fierce in the city with 143 other lawyers, so with few cases to keep him occupied, Wilson quickly grew disillusioned.[citation needed]

Moreover, Wilson had studied law in order to eventually enter politics, but he discovered that he could not continue his study of government and simultaneously continue the reading of law necessary to stay proficient. In April 1883, Wilson applied to the new Johns Hopkins University to study for a Ph.D. in history and political science, which he completed in 1886.[23]

Wilson would later serve as president of the American Political Science Association in 1910, and remains the only U.S. president to have earned a Ph. D., and the only historian and political scientist to become president. In July 1883, Wilson left his law practice to begin his academic studies.[24]

Political writings

Wilson came of age in the decades after the American Civil War, when Congress was leading — "the gist of all policy is decided by the legislature" —and corruption was rampant. Instead of focusing on individuals in explaining where American politics went wrong, Wilson focused on the American constitutional structure.[25]

Under the influence of Walter Bagehot's The English Constitution, Wilson saw the United States Constitution as pre-modern, cumbersome, and open to corruption. An admirer of Parliament (though he did not visit Great Britain until 1919), Wilson favored a parliamentary system for the United States. Writing in the early 1880s:

"I ask you to put this question to yourselves, should we not draw the Executive and Legislature closer together? Should we not, on the one hand, give the individual leaders of opinion in Congress a better chance to have an intimate party in determining who should be president, and the president, on the other hand, a better chance to approve himself a statesman, and his advisers capable men of affairs, in the guidance of Congress?"[26]

Wilson's article The Study of Administration was published in June 1887 within the Political Science Quarterly. Wilson believed that public administration was an important topic not just because of growing popularity within college campuses. He believed it was a requirement for a growing nation. He defined public administration simply as “government in action; it is the executive, the operative, the most visible side of government, and is of course as old as government itself” (Wilson 3). He believed that by studying public administration that governmental efficiency may be increased.[citation needed]

This set the tone for his following discussion. Wilson was concerned with the implementation of government and not just its principles defined by documents such as the Constitution. Wilson analyzed European history and saw a pattern where educated leaders debated the nature of the state, yet the question of how should the law be administrated was relegated to a lowly “practical detail”. Most of this was due to a much smaller—in comparison to the 19th century—population with the government being relatively “simple”.[citation needed]

Wilson thought it was long past due time to confront these issues, or as he put the problem, “[i]t is getting to be harder to run a constitution than to frame one” (Wilson 4). His justification and purpose for a science of administration was for it to “seek to straighten the paths of government, to make its business less unbusinesslike, to strengthen and purify its organization, and it to crown its dutifulness” (Wilson 5).

The first problem (as he saw it) identified was that so far the advancement of this science had been undertaken by Europeans, not including England, whose goals and historical backgrounds were far different from America. He declared that Americans must advance this science as well, to steep it in the American tradition and make this science their own.[citation needed]

Wilson then described the growth of modern governments, starting with absolute rule, progressing to popular rule based upon a constitution, and then finally leading to a stage where the people undertake to develop administration as a science. He briefly gives an overview of the growth of such foreign states as Prussia, France, and England, highlighting the events that led to advances in administration.[citation needed]

The next problem was that the American Republic required great compromise since public opinion differed on so many levels. The people of America itself come from diverse backgrounds. These people must be convinced to form a majority opinion. Thus practical reform to the government is necessarily slow. Although this could be judged a good thing since a single person cannot make drastic, damaging changes. Every change must be pondered at length.[citation needed]

Now Wilson insisted that "administration lies outside the proper sphere of politics" (Wilson 10) and that "general laws which direct these things to be done are as obviously outside of and above administration" (Wilson 11). He likens administration to a machine that functions independent of the changing mood of its leaders.[citation needed]

Such a line of demarcation is intended to focus responsibility for actions taken on the people or persons in charge. As Wilson put it, "[p]ublic attention must be easily directed, in each case of good or bad administration, to just the man deserving of praise or blame. There is no danger in power, if only it be not irresponsible. If it be divided, dealt out in share to many [presumably within administration], it is obscured..." (Wilson 12). Essentially, the items under the discretion of administration must be limited in scope, as to not block, nullify, obfuscate, or modify the implementation of governmental decree made by the executive branch. While this is Wilson’s ideal in today’s practice people within administration often greatly influence the makeup of law and not just its implementation.[citation needed]

'Congressional Government'

Wilson started Congressional Government, his best known political work, as an argument for a parliamentary system, but Wilson was impressed by Grover Cleveland, and Congressional Government emerged as a critical description of America's system, with frequent negative comparisons to Westminster. Wilson himself claimed, "I am pointing out facts—diagnosing, not prescribing remedies.".[27]

Wilson believed that America's intricate system of checks and balances was the cause of the problems in American governance. He said that the divided power made it impossible for voters to see who was accountable for ill-doing. If government behaved badly, Wilson asked,

"...how is the schoolmaster, the nation, to know which boy needs the whipping? ... Power and strict accountability for its use are the essential constituents of good government.... It is, therefore, manifestly a radical defect in our federal system that it parcels out power and confuses responsibility as it does. The main purpose of the Convention of 1787 seems to have been to accomplish this grievous mistake. The 'literary theory' of checks and balances is simply a consistent account of what our Constitution makers tried to do; and those checks and balances have proved mischievous just to the extent which they have succeeded in establishing themselves... [the Framers] would be the first to admit that the only fruit of dividing power had been to make it irresponsible."[28]

The longest section of Congressional Government is on the United States House of Representatives, where Wilson pours out scorn for the committee system. Power, Wilson wrote,

"is divided up, as it were, into forty-seven seignories, in each of which a Standing Committee is the court-baron and its chairman lord-proprietor. These petty barons, some of them not a little powerful, but none of them within reach [of] the full powers of rule, may at will exercise an almost despotic sway within their own shires, and may sometimes threaten to convulse even the realm itself".[29]

Wilson said that the committee system was fundamentally undemocratic because committee chairs, who ruled by seniority, were responsible to no one except their constituents, even though they determined national policy.[citation needed]

In addition to its undemocratic nature, Wilson also believed that the Congressional Committee System facilitated corruption.[citation needed]

"the voter, moreover, feels that his want of confidence in Congress is justified by what he hears of the power of corrupt lobbyists to turn legislation to their own uses. He hears of enormous subsidies begged and obtained... of appropriations made in the interest of dishonest contractors; he is not altogether unwarranted in the conclusion that these are evils inherent in the very nature of Congress; there can be no doubt that the power of the lobbyist consists in great part, if not altogether, in the facility afforded him by the Committee system.[30]

By the time Wilson finished Congressional Government, Grover Cleveland was President, and Wilson had his faith in the United States government restored. When William Jennings Bryan captured the Democratic nomination from Cleveland's supporters in 1896, however, Wilson refused to stand by the ticket. Instead, he cast his ballot for John M. Palmer, the presidential candidate of the National Democratic Party, or Gold Democrats, a short-lived party that supported a gold standard, low tariffs, and limited government.[31]

After experiencing the vigorous presidencies of William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt, Wilson no longer entertained thoughts of parliamentary government at home. In his last scholarly work in 1908, Constitutional Government of the United States, Wilson said that the presidency "will be as big as and as influential as the man who occupies it". By the time of his presidency, Wilson merely hoped that Presidents could be party leaders in the same way prime ministers were. Wilson also hoped that the parties could be reorganized along ideological, not geographic, lines. "Eight words," Wilson wrote, "contain the sum of the present degradation of our political parties: No leaders, no principles; no principles, no parties."[32]

Academic career

Wilson served on the faculties of Bryn Mawr College and Wesleyan University. At Wesleyan, he also coached the football team and founded the debate team - to this date, it is named the T. Woodrow Wilson debate team. He then joined the Princeton faculty as professor of jurisprudence and political economy in 1890. While there, he was one of the faculty members of the short-lived coordinate college, Evelyn College for Women. Additionally, Wilson became the first lecturer of Constitutional Law at New York Law School where he taught with Charles Evans Hughes.[citation needed]

Wilson delivered an oration at Princeton's sesquicentennial celebration (1896) entitled "Princeton in the Nation's Service." (This has become a frequently alluded-to motto of the University, later expanded to "Princeton in the Nation's Service and in the Service of All Nations."[33]) In this famous speech, he outlined his vision of the university in a democratic nation, calling on institutions of higher learning "to illuminate duty by every lesson that can be drawn out of the past".[citation needed]

Prospect House, located in the center of Princeton's campus, was Wilson's residence during his term as president of the university.

The trustees promoted Professor Wilson to president of Princeton in 1902 (replacing Francis Landey Patton, whom the Trustees perceived to be an inefficient administrator). Although the school's endowment was barely $4 million, Wilson sought $2 million for a preceptorial system of teaching, $1 million for a school of science, and nearly $3 million for new buildings and salary raises. As a long-term objective, Wilson sought $3 million for a graduate school and $2.5 million for schools of jurisprudence and electrical engineering, as well as a museum of natural history.[citation needed]

He achieved little of that because he was not a strong fund raiser, but he did increase the faculty from 112 to 174, most of them personally selected as outstanding teachers. The curriculum guidelines he developed proved important progressive innovations in the field of higher education.[citation needed]

To enhance the role of expertise, Wilson instituted academic departments and a system of core requirements where students met in groups of six with preceptors, followed by two years of concentration in a selected major. He tried to raise admission standards and to replace the "gentleman C" with serious study. Wilson aspired, as he told alumni, "to transform thoughtless boys performing tasks into thinking men."[citation needed]

In 1906-10, he attempted to curtail the influence of the elitist "social clubs" by abolishing the upperclass eating clubs and moving the students into colleges, also known as "quadrangles." Wilson's "Quad Plan" was met with fierce opposition from Princeton's alumni, most importantly Moses Taylor Pyne, the most powerful of Princeton's Trustees. Wilson refused any proposed compromises that stopped short of abolishing the clubs because he felt that to compromise "would be to temporize with evil."[34] In October 1907, due to the ferocity of alumni opposition and Wilson's refusal to compromise, the Board of Trustees took back its initial support for the Quad Plan and instructed Wilson to withdraw it.[35]

Even more damaging was his confrontation with Andrew Fleming West, Dean of the graduate school, and West's ally, former President Grover Cleveland, a trustee. Wilson wanted to integrate the proposed graduate building into the same area with the undergraduate colleges; West wanted them separated. The trustees rejected Wilson's plan for colleges in 1908, and then endorsed West's plans in 1909. The national press covered the confrontation as a battle of the elites (West) versus democracy (Wilson). During this time in his personal life, Wilson engaged in an extramarital affair with socialite Mary Peck.[36] Wilson, after considering resignation, decided to take up invitations to move into New Jersey state politics.[37]

Governor of New Jersey

In 1910 Wilson ran for Governor of New Jersey against the Republican candidate Vivian M. Lewis, the State Commissioner of Banking and Insurance. Wilson's campaign focused on his independence from machine politics, and he promised that if elected he would not be beholden to party bosses. Wilson soundly defeated Lewis in the general election by a margin of more than 49,000 votes, despite the fact that Republican William Howard Taft had carried New Jersey in the 1908 presidential election by more than 80,000 votes.[38]

In the 1910 election the Democrats also took control of the General Assembly. The State Senate, however, remained in Republican control by a slim margin. After taking office, Wilson set in place his reformist agenda, ignoring the demands of party machinery. While governor, in a period spanning six months, Wilson established state primaries. This all but took the party bosses out of the presidential election process in the state. He also revamped the public utility commission, and introduced worker's compensation.[39]

Presidency 1913–1921

Wilsonian Idealism

Official White House portrait of Woodrow Wilson

Wilson was a remarkably effective writer and thinker.[40] He composed speeches and other writings with two fingers on a little Hammond typewriter.[41]

Wilson's diplomatic policies had a profound influence on shaping the world. Diplomatic historian Walter Russell Mead has explained:

"Wilson's principles survived the eclipse of the Versailles system and they still guide European politics today: self-determination, democratic government, collective security, international law, and a league of nations. Wilson may not have gotten everything he wanted at Versailles, and his treaty was never ratified by the Senate, but his vision and his diplomacy, for better or worse, set the tone for the twentieth century. France, Germany, Italy, and Britain may have sneered at Wilson, but every one of these powers today conducts its European policy along Wilsonian lines. What was once dismissed as visionary is now accepted as fundamental. This was no mean achievement, and no European statesman of the twentieth century has had as lasting, as benign, or as widespread an influence."[42]

American foreign relations since 1914 have rested on Wilsonian idealism, says historian David Kennedy, even if adjusted somewhat by the "realism" represented by Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Henry Kissinger. Kennedy argues that every president since Wilson has,

"embraced the core precepts of Wilsonianism. Nixon himself hung Wilson's portrait in the White House Cabinet Room. Wilson's ideas continue to dominate American foreign policy in the twenty-first century. In the aftermath of 9/11 they have, if anything, taken on even greater vitality."[43]

Wilson and race

Quotation from Woodrow Wilson's History of the American People as reproduced in the film The Birth of a Nation.

African Americans

While president of Princeton University, Wilson discouraged blacks from even applying for admission, preferring to keep the peace among white students than have black students admitted.[44] It was not until 1945 that Princeton started admitting black students, the first of whom graduated in 1947.[45]

As President, Wilson allowed many of his cabinet officials to establish official segregation in most federal government offices, in some departments for the first time since 1863. "His administration imposed full racial segregation in Washington and hounded from office considerable numbers of black federal employees."[2] Wilson and his cabinet members fired many black Republican office holders in political appointee positions, but also appointed a few black Democrats to such posts. W. E. B. Du Bois, a leader of the NAACP, campaigned for Wilson and in 1918 was offered an Army commission in charge of dealing with race relations; DuBois accepted, but he failed his Army physical and did not serve.[46] When a delegation of blacks protested the discriminatory actions, Wilson told them that "[S]egregation is not a humiliation but a benefit, and ought to be so regarded by you gentlemen." In 1914, he told the New York Times, "If the colored people made a mistake in voting for me, they ought to correct it."[47]

Wilson was highly criticized by African Americans for his actions. He was also criticized by southern hard-line racists such as Georgian Thomas E. Watson, who believed Wilson did not go far enough in restricting black employment in the federal government. The segregation introduced into the federal workplace by the Wilson administration was kept in place by the succeeding presidents and not officially ended until the Truman Administration.[48]

Woodrow Wilson's History of the American People explained the Ku Klux Klan of the late 1860s as the natural outgrowth of Reconstruction, a lawless reaction to a lawless period. Wilson noted that the Klan "began to attempt by intimidation what they were not allowed to attempt by the ballot or by any ordered course of public action."[49] Although it is unclear whether Wilson's harsh critique of the Reconstruction was colored by his personal beliefs, his critique contributed to the intellectual/historical justification for the racist policies/reactions of the 20th century American South.[citation needed]

In a 1923 letter to Senator Morris Sheppard of Texas, Wilson noted of the reborn Klan, "...no more obnoxious or harmful organization has ever shown itself in our affairs." Although Wilson had a volatile relationship with American blacks, he was a friend of the Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie, a black African monarch. A sword, a gift from Selassie, is on display at Wilson's Washington, DC house, now a museum.[50]

White ethnics

Wilson had harsh words to say about immigrants in his history books. But after he entered politics in 1910, Wilson worked to integrate immigrants into the Democratic party, into the army, and into American life. During the war, he demanded in return that they repudiate any loyalty to enemy nations.[citation needed]

Irish Americans were powerful in the Democratic party and opposed going to war as allies of their traditional enemy Great Britain, especially after the violent suppression of the Easter Rebellion of 1916. Wilson won them over in 1917 by promising to ask Great Britain to give Ireland its independence. At Versailles, however, he reneged and the Irish-American community vehemently denounced him. Wilson, in turn, blamed the Irish Americans and German Americans for lack of popular support for the League of Nations, saying,

"There is an organized propaganda against the League of Nations and against the treaty proceeding from exactly the same sources that the organized propaganda proceeded from which threatened this country here and there with disloyalty, and I want to say, I cannot say too often, any man who carries a hyphen about with him carries a dagger that he is ready to plunge into the vitals of this Republic whenever he gets ready."[51]

Wilson refused to meet with Éamon de Valera, the President of Dáil Éireann (the revolutionary Irish Republic), during the latter's 1919 visit to the United States.[citation needed]

Mother's Day

In 1914, Wilson declared the first national Mother's Day[52]

"Now, Therefore, I, Woodrow Wilson, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the said Joint Resolution, do hereby direct the government officials to display the United States flag on all government buildings and do invite the people of the United States to display the flag at their homes or other suitable places on the second Sunday in May as a public expression of our love and reverence for the mothers of our country."


The final resting place of Woodrow Wilson at the Washington National Cathedral

In 1921, Wilson and his wife retired from the White House to a home in the Embassy Row section of Washington, D.C. Wilson continued going for daily drives and attended Keith's vaudeville theater on Saturday nights. Wilson was one of only two Presidents (Theodore Roosevelt was the first) to have served as president of the American Historical Association.[53]

Wilson died in his S Street home on February 3, 1924. Because his plan for the League of Nations failed, he died feeling that he had lied to the American people and that his entry into the war had been in vain. He was buried in Washington National Cathedral. He is the only president buried in Washington, DC.[54]

Mrs. Wilson stayed in the home another 37 years, dying on December 28, 1961. It was the day she was to be the guest of honor at the opening of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge near Washington, D.C. She passed away with her favorite dog, Rooter, at her bedside.

Mrs. Wilson left the home to the National Trust for Historic Preservation to be made into a museum honoring her husband. Woodrow Wilson House opened as a museum. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1964 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1966.[55]


See also


Image of Wilson created by 21,000 soldiers at Camp Sherman, Chillicothe, Ohio, 1918
  1. ^ a b c "Woodrow (Thomas) Wilson". Genealogy@jrac.com. http://genweb.jrac.com/genweb.php?DB=presidents&ID=I1735&query=LookupInternal. 
  2. ^ a b Foner, Eric. "Expert Report Of Eric Foner". The Compelling Need for Diversity in Higher Education. University of Michigan. http://www.umich.edu/%7eurel/admissions/legal/expert/foner.html. 
  3. ^ Wolgemuth, Kathleen L. (April 1959). "Woodrow Wilson and Federal Segregation". The Journal of Negro History (Association for the Study of African-American Life and History, Inc.) 44 (2): 158. doi:10.2307/2716036. http://www.jstor.org/stable/2716036?seq=1. 
  4. ^ "President Wilson House, Dergalt". Northern Ireland - Ancestral Heritage. Northern Ireland Tourist Board. http://www.geographia.com/northern-ireland/ukiher01.htm#Tyrone. 
  5. ^ Walworth 1958 p. 4
  6. ^ a b "Woodrow Wilson — 28th President, 1913-1921". http://www.presidentialavenue.com/ww.cfm. 
  7. ^ White, William Allen. "Chapter II: The Influence of Environment". Woodrow Wilson - The Man, His Times and His Task. http://books.google.com/books?id=pXYqVxLyRrwC&printsec=frontcover&dq=Woodrow+Wilson:+The+Man,+His+Times+and+His+Task#PPA28,M1. 
  8. ^ "Wilson: A Portrait". American Experience, PBS Television. 2001. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/wilson/portrait/wp_wilson.html. Retrieved on 2009-01-19. 
  9. ^ "Woodrow Wilson, Episode One: He Was a Quiet Man (transcript)". American Experience, PBS Television. 2001. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/wilson/filmmore/fm_trans1.html. Retrieved on 2009-01-19. 
  10. ^ Link Road to the White House pp. 3-4.
  11. ^ Walworth ch 1
  12. ^ Link, Wilson I:5-6; Wilson Papers I: 130, 245, 314
  13. ^ The World's Work: A History of our Time, Volume IV: November 1911-April 1912. ???: Doubleday. 1912. pp. 74–75. 
  14. ^ Cranston 1945
  15. ^ Health of Woodrow Wilson
  16. ^ Watson, Robert P. (2000), The Presidents' Wives: Reassessing the Office of First Lady, Lynne Rienner Publishers, pp. 261, ISBN 1555879489 
  17. ^ The Pierce Arrow Limousine from the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library
  18. ^ Richard F. Weingroff, President Woodrow Wilson – Motorist Extraordinaire, Federal Highway Administration
  19. ^ CNNSI.com - Statitudes - Statitudes: World Series, By the Numbers - Thursday October 17, 2002 03:33 AM
  20. ^ for details on Wilson's health see Edwin A. Weinstein, Woodrow Wilson: A Medical and Psychological Biography (Princeton 1981)
  21. ^ Wilson Congressional Government 1885.
  22. ^ "Thomas Woodrow Wilson (1913-1921)". Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia. 2005-01-14. http://www.americanpresident.org/history/woodrowwilson/. Retrieved on 2007-01-03. 
  23. ^ Mulder, John H. (1978). Woodrow Wilson: The Years of Preparation. Princeton. pp. 71–72. 
  24. ^ Wilson Congressional Government 1885, p. 180.
  25. ^ The Politics of Woodrow Wilson, 41–48
  26. ^ Wilson Congressional Government 1885, p. 205.
  27. ^ Wilson Congressional Government 1885, pp. 186–187.
  28. ^ Wilson Congressional Government 1885, p. 76.
  29. ^ Wilson Congressional Government 1885, p. 132.
  30. ^ David T. Beito and Linda Royster Beito, "Gold Democrats and the Decline of Classical Liberalism, 1896-1900,"Independent Review 4 (Spring 2000), 555-75.
  31. ^ Frozen Republic, 145
  32. ^ "Beyond FitzRandolph Gates," Princeton Weekly Bulletin June 22, 1998.
  33. ^ Walworth 1:109
  34. ^ Henry Wilkinson Bragdon, Woodrow Wilson: The Academic Years (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1967), 326-327.
  35. ^ PBS - American Experience: Woodrow Wilson Wilson- A Portrait
  36. ^ Walworth v 1 ch 6, 7, 8
  37. ^ Biography of Woodrow Wilson (PDF), New Jersey State Library.
  38. ^ Shenkman, Richard. p. 275. Presidential Ambition. New York, New York. Harper Collins Publishing, 1999. First Edition. 0-06-018373-X
  39. ^ http://www.neh.gov/news/humanities/2001-11/woodrowwilson.html
  40. ^ Phyllis Lee Levin. Edith and Woodrow: The Wilson White House. Simon and Schuster. New York. 2001, p139
  41. ^ Walter Russell Mead, Special Providence, (2001)
  42. ^ David M. Kennedy, "What 'W' Owes to 'WW': President Bush May Not Even Know It, but He Can Trace His View of the World to Woodrow Wilson, Who Defined a Diplomatic Destiny for America That We Can't Escape", The Atlantic Monthly Vol: 295. Issue: 2. (March 2005) pp 36+.
  43. ^ Arthur Link, Wilson:The Road to the White House (Princeton University Press, 1947) 502
  44. ^ Black History Month at Princeton University
  45. ^ Ellis, Mark. "'Closing Ranks' and 'Seeking Honors': W. E. B. Du Bois in World War I" Journal of American History, 1992 79(1): 96-124. ISSN 0021-8723 Fulltext in Jstor
  46. ^ "President Resents Negro's Criticism". New York Times: pp. 1. November 13, 1914. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9C01E0DC1738E633A25750C1A9679D946596D6CF. Retrieved on 2009-02-04. 
  47. ^ Executive Order 9980, July 26, 1948
  48. ^ Woodrow Wilson, A History of the American People (1931) V:59.
  49. ^ Link, Papers of Woodrow Wilson 68:298
  50. ^ American Rhetoric, "Final Address in Support of the League of Nations", Woodrow Wilson, delivered 25 Sept 1919 in Pueblo, CO. John B. Duff, "German-Americans and the Peace, 1918-1920" American Jewish Historical Quarterly 1970 59(4): 424-459. and Duff, "The Versailles Treaty and the Irish-Americans" Journal of American History 1968 55(3): 582-598. ISBN 0021-8723
  51. ^ Woodrow Wilson proclaims the first Mother’s Day holiday from the History Channel
  52. ^ David Henry Burton. Theodore Roosevelt, American Politician, p.146. Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1997, ISBN 0838637272
  53. ^ John Whitcomb, Claire Whitcomb. Real Life at the White House, p.262. Routledge, 2002, ISBN 0415939518
  54. ^ "Woodrow Wilson House", National Park Service Website, accessed 12 Jan 2009


  • Link, Arthur S. (editor). The Papers of Woodrow Wilson. http://www.pupress.princeton.edu/catalogs/series/pw.html.  Complete in 69 volumes at major academic libraries. Annotated edition of all of Wilson's correspondence, speeches and writings.
  • Tumulty, Joseph P. (1921). Woodrow Wilson as I Know Him. http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/etext05/8wwik10.txt. . Memoir by Wilson's chief of staff.
  • The New Freedom by Woodrow Wilson at Project Gutenberg 1912 campaign speeches
  • Wilson, Woodrow (1917). Why We Are at War. http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/etext04/whwar10h.htm.  Six war messages to Congress, January - April 1917.
  • Wilson, Woodrow. Selected Literary & Political Papers & Addresses of Woodrow Wilson.  3 volumes, 1918 and later editions.
  • Woodrow Wilson, compiled with his approval by Hamilton Foley; Woodrow Wilson's Case for the League of Nations, Princeton University Press, Princeton 1923; contemporary book review.
  • Wilson, Woodrow. Messages & Papers of Woodrow Wilson 2 vol (ISBN 1-135-19812-8)
  • Wilson, Woodrow. The New Democracy. Presidential Messages, Addresses, and Other Papers (1913-1917) 2 vol 1926 (ISBN 0-89875-775-4
  • Wilson, Woodrow. President Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points (1918).
  • 'Wilson and the Federal Reserve'
  • Ambrosius, Lloyd E., “Woodrow Wilson and George W. Bush: Historical Comparisons of Ends and Means in Their Foreign Policies,” Diplomatic History, 30 (June 2006), 509–43.
  • Bailey; Thomas A. Wilson and the Peacemakers: Combining Woodrow Wilson and the Lost Peace and Woodrow Wilson and the Great Betrayal (1947)
  • Bennett, David J., He Almost Changed the World: The Life and Times of Thomas Riley Marshall (2007)
  • Brands, H. W. Woodrow Wilson 1913-1921'’ (2003)
  • Clements, Kendrick, A. Woodrow Wilson : World Statesman (1999)
  • Clements, Kendrick A. The Presidency of Woodrow Wilson (1992)
  • Clements, Kendrick A. "Woodrow Wilson and World War I," Presidential Studies Quarterly 34:1 (2004). pp 62+
  • Cranston, Ruth (1945), The Story of Woodrow Wilson: Twenty-Eighth President of the United States, Pioneer of World Democracy, Simon and Schuster 
  • Davis, Donald E. and Eugene P. Trani; The First Cold War: The Legacy of Woodrow Wilson in U.S.-Soviet Relations (2002)
  • Greene, Theodore P. Ed. Wilson at Versailles (1957)
  • Hofstadter, Richard. "Woodrow Wilson: The Conservative as Liberal" in The American Political Tradition (1948), ch. 10.
  • Knock, Thomas J. To End All Wars: Woodrow Wilson and the Quest for a New World Order (1995)
  • N. Gordon Levin, Jr., Woodrow Wilson and World Politics: America's Response to War and Revolution (1968)
  • Link, Arthur S. "Woodrow Wilson" in Henry F. Graff ed., The Presidents: A Reference History (2002) pp 365-388
  • Link, Arthur Stanley. Woodrow Wilson and the Progressive Era, 1910-1917 (1972) standard political history of the era
  • Link, Arthur Stanley. Wilson: The Road to the White House (1947), first volume of standard biography (to 1917); Wilson: The New Freedom (1956); Wilson: The Struggle for Neutrality: 1914-1915 (1960); Wilson: Confusions and Crises: 1915-1916 (1964); Wilson: Campaigns for Progressivism and Peace: 1916-1917 (1965), the last volume of standard biography
  • Link, Arthur S.; Wilson the Diplomatist: A Look at His Major Foreign Policies (1957)
  • Link, Arthur S.; Woodrow Wilson and a Revolutionary World, 1913-1921 (1982)
  • Livermore, Seward W. Woodrow Wilson and the War Congress, 1916-1918 (1966)
  • Malin, James C. The United States after the World War (1930)
  • May, Ernest R. The World War and American Isolation, 1914-1917 (1959)
  • Saunders, Robert M. In Search of Woodrow Wilson: Beliefs and Behavior (1998)
  • Trani, Eugene P. “Woodrow Wilson and the Decision to Intervene in Russia: A Reconsideration.” Journal of Modern History (1976). 48:440—61. in JSTOR
  • Walworth, Arthur (1958), Woodrow Wilson, Volume I, Longmans, Green, http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=24215014 
  • Walworth, Arthur; Wilson and His Peacemakers: American Diplomacy at the Paris Peace Conference, 1919
  • Princeton University (1956). Woodrow Wilson - Catalogue of an Exhibition in the Princeton University Library February 18 through April 15, 1956 Commemorating the Centennial of His Birth. XVII number=3, Spring issue. The Princeton University Library Chronicle. 

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NAME Wilson, Woodrow
ALTERNATIVE NAMES Wilson, Thomas Woodrow
SHORT DESCRIPTION 28th President of the United States
DATE OF BIRTH December 28, 1856
PLACE OF BIRTH Staunton, Virginia, United States
DATE OF DEATH February 3, 1924
PLACE OF DEATH Washington, D.C., United States
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