Essay on Woodrow Wilson

2008 Words 9 Pages
Woodrow Wilson

Woodrow Wilson, 28th president of the United States (1913-21), secured a legislative program of progressive domestic reform, guided his country during WORLD WAR I, and sought a peace settlement based on high moral principles, to be guaranteed by the LEAGUE OF NATIONS.

Early Life and Career

Thomas Woodrow Wilson was born in Staunton, Va., on Dec. 28, 1856. He was profoundly influenced by a devoutly religious household headed by his father, Joseph Ruggles Wilson, a Presbyterian minister, and his mother,
Janet Woodrow Wilson, the daughter of a minister. Woodrow (he dropped the
Thomas in 1879) attended (1873-74) Davidson College and in 1875 entered the
College of New Jersey (later Princeton University),
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Opposed by wealthy alumni and trustees, he also lost his battle for control of the proposed graduate college. The Princeton controversies, seen nationally as a battle between democracy and vested wealth, propelled Wilson into the political arena.
George Harvey, editor of Harper's Weekly, with help from New Jersey's
Democratic party bosses, persuaded Wilson to run for governor in 1910.
After scoring an easy victory, he cast off his machine sponsors and launched a remarkable program of progressive legislation, including a direct-primary law, antitrust laws, a corrupt-practices act, a workmen's compensation act, and measures establishing a public utility commission and permitting cities to adopt the commission form of government.

Success in New Jersey made him a contender for the Democratic presidential nomination. Although Wilson entered the 1912 Democratic
National Convention a poor second to Speaker of the House Champ Clark, his strength increased as Clark's faded, and he won the nomination after 46 ballots. Offering a program of reform that he called the New Freedom,
Wilson ran against a divided Republican party. In November, with only 42 percent of the popular vote, he won 435 electoral votes to 88 for
Progressive candidate Theodore Roosevelt and 8 for the Republican candidate,
President William Howard Taft.
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