Woodrow Wilson John Q. Student
Woodrow Wilson • March 1913 – March 1921 • 28th President
Woodrow Wilson - Biography • Born in Virginia in 1856 • Earned a doctorate and began a career teaching political science • Elected governor of New Jersey in 1910 • 1912 nominated for president by Democratic Party – won election with 42 percent of popular vote • Pushed through many progressive programs including the Federal Reserve, the Underwood Tariff and the Income Tax • Tried to keep US neutral during World War I but eventually asked for/received Declaration of War • Personally negotiated Treaty of Versailles and preserved League of Nations from his Fourteen Points • When US Senate refused to ratify treaty Wilson went on US tour seeking support • Wilson suffered stroke and ended his presidency much debilitated
Woodrow Wilson • Pros • Gave the US its first national bank since Andrew Jackson with the establishment of the Federal Reserve • Established the Federal trade Commission that allowed small businesses to compete more fairly with large corporations • Attempted to promote a peace between the warring European powers based on his Fourteen Points • Was an excellent leader during World War I – kept up American morale • Ensured that the American Expeditionary Force fought as an intact US Army thereby giving the Army valuable experience in a foreign war and elevating the US in foreign opinion
Woodrow Wilson • Cons • Believed US Constitution should be thrown out - everything our country’s government is based on • He had racist tendencies – believed segregation good for both races • Got US involved in Mexican Revolution – invaded Mexico thereby complicating our relationships in Latin America • Had no plan for returning US to peacetime economy after WWI which resulted in economic chaos • Allowed Britain and France to push harsh Versailles Treaty that contributed to the rise of Hitler in Germany • Refused to compromise w/Republican Senate to ratify treaty – resulting in US not signing Treaty of Versailles or joining League of Nations • Did not relinquish control to Vice President after his stroke – his wife ran the presdiency
Woodrow Wilson • Summary • People usually place Wilson fairly high in presidential ratings due to his leadership during WWI. While he did a good job in war leadership, especially keeping the US Army separate from the Allies, I believe he was lacking in other areas. He allowed himself to be rolled by the Europeans at Versailles and watched them produce a rancid treaty that was instrumental in war just 20 years later. Any chance to make the League of Nations a reality for the US was thrown away by Wilson’s arrogance and refusal to negotiate with the Republican Senate. His contempt for the US Constitution laid the groundwork for the expansion of presidential power later in the century.