(Thomas) Woodrow Wilson
Served 1913-1917, 1917-1921

Thomas Woodrow Wilson was born December 28, 1856, in Staunton, Virginia.

Wilson did not learn to read until he was nine, but he went on to become a college professor, an author, president of Princeton University, and President of the United States.

Wilson married Ellen Axzon June 24, 1885, and they had three children.

Next PageNominated by the Democrats in 1912, with Thomas Marshall as his running mate, Wilson was the first Democrat to win the White House in 20 years, and except for Cleveland‘s two terms, the first Democratic president since Reconstruction.

Wilson served as President during the First World War (1914-1918). In his first term, he believed that the United States should not become involved in the European war. During his first term, his wife Ellen died August 6, 1914.

Wilson married Edith Bolling Galt 16 months later, December 18, 1915.

Wilson ran for re-election in 1916 under the slogan “He kept us out of war.” In 1917, however, when German naval forces sank the British cruise liner Lusitania, Wilson asked Congress to declare war, only the second declaration of war in U.S. history.

Wilson proposed “Fourteen Points for Peace” to get all countries of the world to join a group to stop future wars, but he could not get the Senate to agree to join the League of Nations. He toured the country for support, but fell ill from strain and suffered a stroke. His wife Edith managed things so well at the White House after he became ill that she became know as the “nation’s first lady President.” In 1920, Wilson was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts towards healing the wounds of the war.

Wilson was the first President to make a speech on the radio and the first to visit a foreign country while in office — France in 1918.

After leaving office in 1921, Wilson moved into a mansion with a garden and library in Washington D.C. He died there on February 3, 1924, believing that unless an organization to help keep the peace that he fought for could be realized. Today the Woodrow Wilson Library is a national landmark, open to the public in Washington D.C.

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