A Dictionary of American History

Author: Thomas L. Purvis  | Date: 1995

Wilson, (Thomas) Woodrow

Wilson, (Thomas) Woodrow (b. Staunton, Va., 28 December 1856; d. Washington, D.C., 3 February 1924) He was the first president to earn a Ph.D. (Johns Hopkins, 1885), became a nationally renowned educational leader, and was Princeton University president (1902–10). A Progressive Era reformer, he served as N.J. governor (1910–11). In 1912, after a come-from-behind victory over Champ Clark for the Democratic nomination for president, he promised a New Freedom and took 41 states, but just 41.9 percent of the vote. He actively involved himself in passing the Underwood–Simmons Tariff, Federal Reserve system, Federal Trade Commission, and Clayton Antitrust Act. He won reelection narrowly by just 12 electoral votes and with 49.4 percent of the ballots on the campaign slogan “he kept us out of war.”

The peaceful president twice ordered US intervention in Mexico, including a major invasion of the Mexican border. Unrestricted submarine warfare led him to bring the US into World War I in 1917. He attempted to influence a just peace by his Fourteen Points and attended the Versailles peace negotiations, but was disappointed by their final outcome. He waged a futile struggle to win US ratification of the treaty of Versailles and American entry to the League of Nations until he was incapacitated by a stroke at Pueblo, Colo., on 25 September 1919. He refused to resign, but was unable to function adequately for the rest of his term.


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Chicago: Thomas L. Purvis, "Wilson, (Thomas) Woodrow," A Dictionary of American History in A Dictionary of American History (Cambridge, Mass.: Blackwell Reference, 1995), Original Sources, accessed March 24, 2019, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=DKXFZ5QGNGIQXH4.

MLA: Purvis, Thomas L. "Wilson, (Thomas) Woodrow." A Dictionary of American History, in A Dictionary of American History, Cambridge, Mass., Blackwell Reference, 1995, Original Sources. 24 Mar. 2019. www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=DKXFZ5QGNGIQXH4.

Harvard: Purvis, TL, 'Wilson, (Thomas) Woodrow' in A Dictionary of American History. cited in 1995, A Dictionary of American History, Blackwell Reference, Cambridge, Mass.. Original Sources, retrieved 24 March 2019, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=DKXFZ5QGNGIQXH4.