Woodrow Wilson Biography

Woodrow Wilson was the 28th President of the United States. He led America during the World War I. Check out this biography to know about his childhood, life, achievements, works & timeline

Quick Facts

Nick Name: Schoolmaster in Politics, The Phrasemaker, The Professor, Coiner of Weasel Words

Birthday: December 28, 1856

Nationality: American

Famous: Quotes By Woodrow Wilson Nobel Peace Prize

Died At Age: 67

Sun Sign: Capricorn

Also Known As: Thomas Woodrow Wilson

Born in: Staunton city

Famous as: Father of the League of Nations

Height: 5'11" (180 cm), 5'11" Males

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political ideology: Political party - Democratic


Spouse/Ex-: Edith Wilson, Ellen Axson Wilson

father: Joseph Ruggles Wilson

mother: Jessie Janet Woodrow

siblings: Anne E. Wilson Howe, Joseph Ruggles Wilson, Jr.

children: Eleanor Wilson McAdoo, Jessie Woodrow Wilson Sayre, Margaret Woodrow Wilson

Died on: February 3, 1924

place of death: Washington, D.C.

Personality: ISTJ

Ideology: Democrats

Founder/Co-Founder: Federal Reserve System, Chatham House, League of Nations, U.S. National Park Service, War Industries Board, Committee on Public Information, Council of National Defense, Federal Trade Commission, National War Labor Board, National Advisory Committee for A

More Facts

education: 1886 - Johns Hopkins University, University of Virginia School of Law, 1879 - Princeton University, 1874 - Davidson College

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Woodrow Wilson was the 28th President of the United States. He was in the office for two terms, from 1913 to 1921. He led America during the World War I, played a major role in the conclusion of the Treaty of Versailles and was instrumental in the formation of the League of Nations, which was a precursor to the United Nations Organisation. For his lead role in the formation of the League of Nations, Wilson was awarded the 1919 Nobel Peace Prize. Born in a devout Presbyterian family, Wilson had an ordinary academic record in school and was affected by dyslexia. But, he overcame that and became a dedicated scholar. He went on to study law and earned his Ph.D. in political science and history. He started teaching at Princeton University in 1890 and served as the president of Princeton University from 1902 to 1910. He entered politics in 1910, when he became the Governor of the New Jersey on Democratic Party ticket. Wilson was chosen as Democratic Party’s presidential candidate for 1912 elections and he easily won the election. When World War I started, he initially adopted the policy of neutrality but was later forced to enter War due to Germany’s unrestricted submarine warfare. As President, he undertook several progressive reforms. He supported the landmark 19th Amendment, allowing women to vote. For his able leadership and progressive agenda, Woodrow Wilson is ranked amongst the top ten U.S. presidents

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Childhood & Early Life
  • Woodrow Wilson was born on December 28, 1856, in Staunton, Virginia, to Joseph Ruggles Wilson and Jessie Janet Woodrow. His father was a Presbyterian minister.
  • During his childhood, his family moved all over the South and Wilson witnessed the ravages of the Civil War from close quarters.
  • Wilson had a form of dyslexia and as a result, he had an ordinary academic record in school. He overcame his academic limitations by studying at home with his father, who instilled a passion for oratory and debate in his son.
  • In 1873, Wilson got enrolled at the Davidson College in North Carolina but transferred to Princeton in 1875. He graduated in 1879.
  • In 1879, he joined the Law School at the University of Virginia. After graduating from the Law School, he practiced law for a year in Atlanta, Georgia, but his practice did not flourish.
  • In 1883, he took admission in the Johns Hopkins University to study history and political science. In 1886, he earned his Ph.D.; his thesis was, 'Congressional Government: A Study in American Politics'.
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  • Wilson taught ancient Greek and Roman history at Bryn Mawr College from 1885 to 1888. Thereafter, he joined Wesleyan University, where he coached the football team and founded the debate team.
  • In 1890, he became a professor of Jurisprudence and Political Economy at the Princeton University. He also served as Princeton University’s president from 1902 to 1910.
  • Wilson was a very popular teacher during his stint in Princeton University and was known his progressive ideas on reforming education. He wanted to change the admission system, the pedagogical system, and wanted to introduce innovative curriculum upgrades.
  • In 1910, he entered politics when he contested New Jersey’s gubernatorial election on Democratic Party’s ticket. Wilson won the election by defeating Republican candidate Vivian M. Lewis and became the Governor of New Jersey.
  • As Governor, he focused on four major state reforms—electoral reforms, a corrupt practices act, Workmen's Compensation, and establishment of a commission to regulate utilities.
  • In 1912, Wilson was chosen as Democratic Party’s candidate for the presidential election. He easily won the election because the Republican vote was split between William Howard Taft and Theodore Roosevelt.
  • He became the 28th President of the United States on March 4, 1913. Immediately upon assuming the office he rolled out his reforms agenda. He introduced the Federal Reserve System, checked monopolies and unfair trade practices, established an eight-hour workday, with additional pay for overtime work, for interstate railroad workers, and increased credit to rural family farmers.
  • When the World War I began in Europe on July 26, 1914, Wilson initially adopted a policy of neutrality. He believed that in order to fight one must be brutal and ruthless and this spirit of ruthless brutality will enter into the moral fiber American life.
  • Wilson was re-elected for a second term in 1916. His policy of neutrality played a major role in his win and his election campaign revolved around the slogan "He kept us out of war."
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  • During his second term, he was forced to review his policy of neutrality due to Germany’s unrestricted submarine warfare. Germany ignored America’s neutrality and sunk American ships.
  • United States entered the World War I in April 1917 and Wilson ably led the nation during this period. After the war ended, nearly eighteen months later, Americans were perceived as heroes.
  • After the conclusion of war, Wilson proposed the "Fourteen Points" as the basis for the peace treaty at Versailles; the last point was creation of a League of Nations to ensure world peace. League of Nations was a precursor to the present United Nations Organisation and its main purpose was to ensure that no such war as World War I, happens in the future.
  • The European nations accepted the formation of League of Nations but Wilson suffered a setback when the U.S. Senate declined to approve American acceptance of the League of Nations.
  • On the domestic front, in 1918, he endorsed the 19th Amendment, allowing women to vote.
  • He suffered a serious stroke in October 1919, and never fully recovered in the remaining seventeen months of his term of office.
Major Works
  • During his term as President, American Congress passed several progressive legislations. These include: the Federal Reserve Act, Federal Trade Commission Act, the Clayton Antitrust Act, the Federal Farm Loan Act and the Adamson Act.
  • After the culmination of World War I, he was instrumental in the formation of the League of Nations, a multilateral organization formed to ensure world peace.
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Awards & Achievements
  • Woodrow Wilson was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 1919, in recognition of his efforts in the formation of the League of Nations.
Personal Life & Legacy
  • Wilson fell in love with Ellen Louise Axson, an accomplished artist, at church, and the two got married in 1885. The couple had three daughters together and the marriage continued till Ellen's death in 1914.
  • Wilson married Edith Bolling Galt in December 1915. It is said that when Wilson suffered serious stroke in October 1919 and became invalid, Edith hided the severity of his illness and made decisions in his stead.
  • Woodrow Wilson died on February 3, 1924, at the age of 67.
  • He was the first U.S. president to travel to Europe while in office.

See the events in life of Woodrow Wilson in Chronological Order

How To Cite

Article Title
- Woodrow Wilson Biography
- Editors, TheFamousPeople.com
- TheFamousPeople.com
Last Updated
- July 25, 2017
Woodrow Wilson

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