Woodrow Wilson was the 28th president of the United States. He was born December 28, 1856, in Staunton, Virginia. He studied law and received a Ph.D. in political science from Johns Hopkins University. He became a professor of jurisprudence and politics at Princeton in 1890 and served as president of the university from 1902 to 1910.
In 1910, he began his political career and was elected governor of New Jersey. Just two years later, the Democrats nominated him for president.
Wilson’s First Administration
Wilson was the last American president to travel to his inauguration ceremony in a horse-drawn carriage. During his first administration, the new president worked on progressive reform. He reduced tariffs on imports from other countries, started the income tax, and established the Federal Reserve and Federal Trade Commission.
The World War
World War I began in 1914, and President Wilson did his best to keep America out of the war. In 1916, Wilson was renominated by the Democrats with the campaign slogan, “He kept us out of War.” But that only lasted until he began his second term.
Wilson’s Second Term and the War
In 1917, German submarines attacked U.S. merchant ships. The United States also learned about the Zimmerman Telegram, which showed Germany trying to get Mexico to go against the U.S. On April 2, 1917, Wilson asked Congress to declare war on Germany, saying, “The world must be made safe for democracy.” On November 11, 1918, the Germans signed an armistice to end the war.
President Wilson helped negotiate the Treaty of Versailles, which included plans for the League of Nations. The League of Nations was an idea to help settle international arguments and hopefully prevent future wars. It was the beginning of the United Nations. In December 1920, Wilson received the 1919 Nobel Peace Prize for his Treaty of Versailles and League of Nations work.
Wilson wanted Congress to give women the right to vote. In 1920, the 19th Amendment was passed and became law, making it legal for women throughout the United States to be able to vote.
On February 3, 1924, at the age of 67, Wilson died at his home.