Library of America
World War I and America

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Woodrow Wilson

December 28, 1856–February 3, 1924

Born Thomas Woodrow Wilson in Staunton, Virginia, the son of a Presbyterian minister. Graduated from the College of New Jersey (Princeton) in 1879. Admitted to the bar in Atlanta in 1882. Entered graduate school at Johns Hopkins in 1883. Married Ellen Axson in 1885. Published Congressional Government (1885), the first of several works on American history and politics. Awarded Ph.D. in 1886. Taught at Bryn Mawr, 1885–88, and Wesleyan, 1888–90. Professor of jurisprudence and political economy at Princeton, 1890–1902, and president of Princeton, 1902–10. Elected as a Democrat to the governorship of New Jersey in 1910 and served 1911–13. Won Democratic presidential nomination in 1912 and defeated Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft; defeated Charles Evans Hughes in 1916 to win reelection. President of the United States, 1913–21. Following the death of his first wife, married Edith Bolling Galt in 1915. Suffered stroke on October 2, 1919, that left him an invalid for the remainder of his term. Awarded Nobel Peace Prize in 1919. Died in Washington, D.C.

"We are glad, now that we see the facts with no veil of false pretence about them, to fight thus for the ultimate peace of the world and for the liberation of its peoples, the German peoples included; for the rights of nations great and small and the privilege of men everywhere to choose their way of life and of obedience. The world must be made safe for democracy." from Address to Congress on War with Germany, April 2, 1917

Image credit: Woodrow Wilson addresses Congress (Library of Congress)

Image credit: W. A. (William Allen) Rogers, "Remember the little lost children of the Lusitania," (Library of Congress)

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