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Wilson, Woodrow | Purdue University Libraries, Archives and Special Collections

Name: Wilson, Woodrow


Historical Note: Thomas Woodrow Wilson, 28th president of the United States, was born 28 December 1856, in Staunton, Virginia. Tommy Wilson, as he was called, was barely a year old when his family moved to Augusta, Georgia. He would live there until his early teens when the Wilson family moved to Columbia, South Carolina. Wilson briefly attended Davidson College and later transferred to Princeton University, graduating with the class of 1879. He attended the University of Virginia Law School and later received a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University. Now going by his middle name Woodrow, Wilson began his teaching career at Bryn Mawr College. He married Ellen Axson in June 1885, and the couple had three daughters. In 1888, Wilson joined the faculty of Wesleyan University and, in 1890, was invited to return to Princeton as professor of jurisprudence and political economy. He went on to become president of Princeton University in 1902 and then Governor of New Jersey for one term in 1910. Wilson was elected president of the United States in 1912 and reelected in 1916. After Ellen died in 1914, he married Edith Bolling Galt, a widow, in December 1915. As president, Wilson was responsible for many social and economic reforms including the passage of the Federal Reserve Act, the Child Labor Reform Act, and legislation that supported unions to ensure fair treatment of working Americans. The 19th Amendment was ratified during his second term, guaranteeing all women the right to vote. Wilson is best remembered for his leadership during World War I, and his attempt to establish the League of Nations. At the Paris Peace Conference, Wilson proposed “Fourteen Points” as the basis for the peace treaty. The final Treaty of Versailles included many of Wilson’s ideas, but the Treaty was voted down by Congress, and the United States never joined the League of Nations. While touring the country in 1919 to boost public support for the League, Wilson fell ill from exhaustion and suffered a stroke from which he never fully recovered. After leaving office in 1921, Wilson and his wife moved to a private residence in northwest Washington, D.C. He died there at the age of 67 on 3 February 1924, and is buried in the Washington National Cathedral.
Sources: Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library http://www.woodrowwilson.org/about/biography





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