Saturday, July 5, 2008


Born: December 28, 1856
Staunton, Virginia
Died: February 3, 1924
Washington, D.C.

American president, governor, and educator

Woodrow Wilson was admired as a writer, a scholar, and an educator more than two decades before he became president. He spent twenty-four years working in the academic world as a professor, then as a college president, before he was elected governor of New Jersey. Two years later he was elected president of the United States, led the country through World War I (1914–18) and was the primary architect of the League of Nations.

Early years

Stephen Woodrow Wilson was born in Staunton, Virginia, on December 28, 1856, the son of Joseph and Jeanie Wilson. His father was a Presbyterian minister. Wilson briefly attended Davison University in North Carolina, but transferred to Princeton University and graduated there in 1879. He received his doctorate in 1886 from Johns Hopkins University.

In his doctoral thesis Wilson analyzed the American political system, and criticized what he believed was a breakdown of power in Congress, which was caused by the committee system. He believed that the president ought to solely lead the nation, a view that did not change once he was in the White House.

From 1886 to 1910 Wilson was in academic life—as a professor of political science at Bryn Mawr College, Wesleyan University, and Princeton. In 1902, he was named president of Princeton. He strongly favored an educational system that promoted a close relationship between teachers and students.


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