Memorable Quotations: Woodrow Wilson
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Woodrow (Thomas) Wilson (1856-1924) was the 28th president of the United States (1913-21). Born in Staunton, Virginia, he graduated from Princeton University, received a law degree from University of Virginia, and a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University. A noted scholar, he taught at Bryn Mawr College and Wesleyan University before becoming professor of jurisprudence and political economy at Princeton. Wilson became president of Princeton in 1902. In 1910 he was elected governor of New Jersey on a reform Democratic ticket. As governor (1911-13) he achieved various notable reforms. At the 1912 Democratic convention he was nominated for president on the 46th ballot. He was elected president when the Republican vote was split between William Howard Taft and Theodore Roosevelt. Wilson's domestic program, known as the "New Freedom," was generally progressive; among its accomplishments were the Federal Reserve System (1913), the Federal Trade Commission (1914), and the Clayton Antitrust Act (1914). The early troubles with Mexico were soon eclipsed by the outbreak of World War I in Europe. His initial efforts to sustain United States neutrality were upset by the sinking of the Lusitania in 1915 and other German hostilities. Nonetheless, he ran for reelection in 1916 on the assertion of having "kept us out of war," and barely defeated Charles Evans Hughes, the Republican candidate. Relations with Germany persisted to worsen and war was declared on April 6, 1917. Wilson perceived the war as essential to make the world "safe for democracy" and swiftly put the nation on a war footing. Looking ahead to peace, he articulated his plans for its implementation with his Fourteen Points. When the war ended, he sailed in December 1918 for Europe to take part in the peace talks. Wilson's idealism was broadly esteemed in Europe, and he was viewed as the best prospect for a fair peace. Despite his displeasure with the subsequent Treaty of Versailles, he fastened his great hopes on the League of Nations. In America, though, isolationism had reasserted itself, principally among the Republicans in Congress. Wilson's final endeavors as president were spent in a fruitless attempt to win United States ratification of, and thus membership in, the League of Nations. He suffered a stroke in September 1919 and never completely recovered. He was awarded the 1919 Nobel Peace Prize.
Books by Carol Dingle