Uploaded by jester_828 on May 29, 2001
THOMAS WOODROW WILSON was the 28th president of the United States. Born on the 28th of December 1856, he was an American scholar and statesman who was best remembered for his high-minded and leading the United States into World War I.
Wilson was born to religious and well-educated people, mainly of Scottish background. Wilson's father, Joseph Ruggles Wilson, studied for the clergy at the Presbyterian directed Princeton University. He married Janet Woodrow, and early in the 1850s the Wilsons moved to Virginia, where he became minister of a church in Staunton. There, in 1856 Thomas Woodrow Wilson was born, the first son and third child.
Apparently dyslexic from childhood, Wilson did not learn to read until he was 10 and never became a rapid reader. Nevertheless, he developed passionate interests in literature and especially politics. He attended Davidson College North Carolina, for a year before entering Princeton University in 1875. At Princeton he blossomed intellectually, reading widely, engaging in debate, and editing the college newspaper.
After graduation from Princeton in 1879, Wilson studied law at the University of Virginia, with the hope that it would lead to politics. However, he became inpatient with the fine points of law and only reluctantly mastered them. Although his work was outstanding, he found public speaking and political history more satisfying. Despite intermittent illness, he received his law degree and in 1882 settled in Atlanta, Georgia, where he opened a law practice. In 1883 he became tired of the firm and abandoned his law career for graduate study in government and history at Johns Hopkins University, where in 1886 he received a Ph.D.
Wilson's doctoral thesis was also his first book, Congressional Government: A Study in American Politics (1885), which further developed his comparison between the American and parliamentary government and suggested reforms that would make the American system more efficient and more answerable to public opinion. Accepted and published early in 1885, it sold well. Influential reviewers found Wilson's attitude toward American democracy novel and stimulating.
Wilson had been engaged for several years to Ellen Louise Axson, and they were married in June 1885. Proficient and lively, Ellen proved the perfect mate for her husband. She gave him unqualified support and helped free his mind from everyday pressures. The couple had three daughters.
Wilson was the only professional academic to become president. He began his career teaching history and political science at Bryn Mawr College in...