Woodrow Wilson Biography

Twenty-eighth President of the United States of America (1913-1921)

Thomas Woodrow Wilson. Son of a severe Presbyterian shepherd. Nominated as a Democratic candidate for the 1912 presidential election, he launched a reformist program known as New Freedom.

Born 28 December 1856 – Died 3 February 1924. Woodrow Wilson was an American lawyer and politician, president of the United States during World War I.

Woodrow Wilson
The flag is the embodiment, not of feeling, but of history.

Wilson grew up in Augusta, Georgia, and Columbia, South Carolina and spent his youth in the South and was considered the son of a devout Presbyterian family, seeing the ravages of the Civil War and its consequences.

President Woodrow Wilson’s Campaign Audio

1912 US Election Campaign Speech Audio.

Download Wilson’s Audio

Woodrow Wilson’s University Studies

He was a dedicated academic and enthusiastic speaker, earning several degrees before studying at a university.

He studied at Davidson College in North Carolina before entering the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University), where he graduated in 1879.

He studied law at the University of Virginia and practiced law for one year in Atlanta, Georgia. He studied political science at John Hopkins University and received his doctorate in 1886.

He was a professor of political science at Princeton in 1890, becoming director of the university in 1902.

Candidate for Governor

In 1910, the New Jersey Democratic Party elected him a candidate for governor and left his post at the university.

He was elected governor and showed himself to be a strong and reformist leader, managing to end the power of the party’s clans and pass laws to regulate elections and mercantile activity.

If his pedagogical reforms had made Princeton a model university, his political and social reforms in New Jersey attracted enough attention to make him a presidential candidate to end a long period of Republican political hegemony.

In the 1912 presidential election, he won an overwhelming majority, favored by the division of the Republican vote between Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft.
Most important actions within your government.

In his first term, he carried out the following programmes.

  1. The Underwood Act. In 1913 and 1914 he began to implement his ‘New Freedom’ plan, which reduced customs duties and tariffs for the first time in forty years.
  2. The Federal Reserve Act, which established a new system to support finance and banking.
  3. The Clayton Antitrust Act, which reinforced previous laws by limiting the power of large corporations.
  4. Creation of the Federal Trade Commission.
  5. He created a progressive federal personal income tax.
  6. It introduced the direct election of senators by universal suffrage.
  7. It extended the right to vote to women, it used the strength of the state to fight the monopolies.
  8. He tried to stop alcohol consumption with the dry law.

Because of his domestic politics, he gained the support of farmers, workers and reformists in the 1916 elections against his Republican rival, Charles Evans Hughes. He won by a narrow margin in the party vote, but then won the popular majority.

The Mexican Revolution

During the Mexican Revolution, the U.S. occupied Veracruz in 1914 and ordered an expedition against Mexican revolutionary leader Francisco Villa in 1916.

When World War I broke out in 1914, it was a continuing problem for the United States, as the British blockade disrupted trade and German submarines threatened to destroy ships and human lives.

THE PURSUIT OF PANCHO VILLA

First World War

In May 1915, the British liner Lusitania sank and 128 Americans died, creating a crisis during which Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan did not decide on U.S. entry into the war.

In April 1916 he was able to convince the Germans to cease their submarine attacks, thus easing tensions for a time.

At the same time, he tried to put an end to the war, through various mediations and finally with his own public appeal in January 1917 to arrive at a peace without victory.

Despite Wilson’s warnings, Germany resumed underwater attacks in February. After a desperate and unsuccessful search for alternatives, he asked Congress to declare war on Germany on April 2.

The United States went to war on April 6, 1917. He instituted a recruitment that involved nearly three million of the five men serving in the Armed Forces.

A large contingent of U.S. troops commanded by General John Pershing entered combat in France during the summer of 1918.

Civil Liberties

In the interior of the country, the War Industries Board and the Committee on Public Information joined forces to maintain a war economy.

At the same time, the laws of sedition and espionage restricted civil liberties. In 1918 he outlined his peace program in the so-called Fourteen Points.

They called for national self-determination, an end to colonialism, and a League of Nations as an international peacemaker.

The Treaty of Versailles

When the conflict ended, he traveled to Europe, devoting six months to the negotiations that culminated in the Paris Peace Conference with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles.

By 1919 the opposition had already spoken out against the peace treaty, both those who feared that membership in the League of Nations would lead the United States into new conflicts and those who opposed any restrictions on U.S. independence and military activities.

Republican senators, led by Henry Cabot Lodge, threatened to deny two-thirds of the votes needed for ratification or to place severe limitations on U.S. participation in the League of Nations.

The Second Administration

The second Woodrow Wilson administration saw the passage of two significant constitutional amendments.

The era of prohibition was announced on January 17, 1920, when the 18th Amendment, which prohibits the manufacture, sale, and transportation of alcohol, came into force after ratification a year earlier.

In 1919, Wilson vetoed the National Prohibition (or Alcohol Smuggling) Act, designed to enforce the 18th Amendment.

However, his veto was overridden by Congress. The ban lasted until 1933 when it was repealed by Amendment 21.

Also in 1920, American women gained the right to vote when the 19th Amendment became law in August.

Wilson had pushed Congress to pass the amendment. The presidential elections of the year that for the first time in which women from all states were allowed to vote-resulted in a victory for Republican Warren Harding (1865-1923).

Originally from Ohio who opposed the League of Nations and the campaign for a “return to normalcy” after Wilson’s tenure in the White House.

The White House Retreat

At the end of that year, he suffered a paralysis that left him crippled for the rest of his life. The Senate refused to ratify the peace treaty, and Wilson and his opponents refused to make concessions to reach an agreement so that the United States never joined the League of Nations.

After leaving office in March 1921, Woodrow Wilson resided in Washington, D.C., where he established a law firm with a partner, but poor health prevented the president from doing serious work again.

Wilson died in his home on February 3, 1924. At age 67, he was buried in Washington’s National Cathedral and was the only president to be buried in the nation’s capital.

Movie President Woodrow Wilson

President Woodrow Wilson’s 14 Points for World Peace

On January 8, 1918, with his country already at war, he created a list of 14 points that should serve as a basis for world peace, being a basis for closing the war in a way acceptable to all sides and launching the world into a new situation without such savage wars. It should not be forgotten that the First World War was then the Great War.

Before the Congress of the United States, Wilson made his proposal, those 14 points that would go down in history and that today, a century and a few days later, we could review to see how far we have come, or how little we have done.

  1. Prohibition of secret diplomacy in the future.
  2. Absolute freedom of navigation in peace and war outside territorial waters, except when the seas are closed by an international agreement.
  3. Disappearance, as much as possible, of economic barriers.
  4. Adequate guarantees for the reduction of national armaments.
  5. Adjustment of colonial claims in such a way that the interests of peoples are given equal consideration to the aspirations of governments, the basis of which is to be determined.
  6. Evacuation of the entire Russian territory, giving Russia full opportunity for its own development with the help of the powers.
  7. Full restoration of Belgium in its complete and free sovereignty.
  8. Liberation of the entire French territory and reparation for the damage caused by Prussia in 1871.
  9. Readjustment of Italian borders in accordance with the principle of nationality.
  10. Opportunity for autonomous development of the peoples of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
  11. Evacuation of Romania, Serbia, and Montenegro, granting access to the sea to Serbia and settlement of relations between the Balkan States in accordance with their feelings and the principle of nationality.
  12. Security of autonomous development of non-Turkish nationalities of the Ottoman Empire, and the Dardanelles Strait free for all kinds of ships.
  13. Declare Poland as an independent state, which also has access to the sea.
  14. The creation of a general association of nations, to be constituted by means of specific pacts, with the purpose of mutually guaranteeing the political independence and territorial integrity of both large and small States.

This list was taken into account in the Treaty of Versailles and, as I said at the beginning, item 14 was key to Wilson receiving the Nobel Peace Prize.

Woodrow Wilson Quotes

  1. The history of freedom is that of the struggle to limit the power of government.
  2. I believe in democracy because it unleashes the energies of every human being.
  3. The world should be a safe place for democracy.
  4. If you want to make enemies, try to change something.
  5. The flag is the embodiment, not of feeling, but of history.
  6. The leader’s ear makes rings out of people’s voices.
  7. America is too proud to stoop to make war.
  8. A man can give something better if that is possible than his life. He can give his living
  9. spirit to a cause that is not easy.
  10. The man who’s swimming against the current knows his strength.

Charges

President of the United States
March 4, 1913 – March 4, 1921

Predecessor

William Howard Taft

Successor

Warren G. Harding

Governor of New Jersey
17 January 1911 – 1 March 1913

A great book I recommend is this.

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James Monroe Short Biography.

James Madison Short Biography.

John Quincy Adams Short Biography.

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